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Part 2 Of 'The Hobbit' Entitled 'The Desolation of Smaug,' Part 3 Dated For July 18th, 2014

by Oliver Lyttelton
September 1, 2012 10:14 AM
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One problem with turning your two-part fantasy epic into a three-part fantasy epic is that you need to find a new title from somewhere. It's all right when a "Twilight" or a "Hunger Games" decide to split their final installment into two, because they can always go for a "Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 and 2" or "Mockingjay Pt. 1 and 2" type deal, but for "The Hobbit," Peter Jackson had already added two new subtitles to his one-book source material -- admittedly ones already associated with the books: "An Unexpected Journey" and "There And Back Again."

But after his decision earlier in the summer to add a third part to his already-mostly-wrapped "Lord of the Rings" prequel, Jackson was faced with a dilemma. With "An Unexpected Journey" set to hit this Christmas, presumably too late to be retitled, did he keep the second film as "There And Back Again," and add a new name to the third, or would he rename the second somehow, and make "There And Back Again" the last installment? Warner Bros' trademarking suggested that they were still considering going either way on the project, and were sadly neglecting our own preferred approach, "The Hobbit: There" and "The Hobbit: Back Again."

It looks as if a decision has been reached, and it looks like those hoping for "The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies," one of the two proposed titles, will be disappointed: Deadline reports that the second film has now been retitled "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug." The title, for the uninitiated, refers to the great dragon (being played, via performance capture, by Benedict Cumberbatch), who guards the treasure that Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf companions are in search of. It's not a spoiler either, as some who don't understand the meaning of the word 'desolate' have suggested: it's a reference to a portion of Middle-Earth which has been scorched by the title character.

This means that the third film is now known as "The Hobbit: There And Back Again," despite presumably focusing more on the 'back again' than the 'there.' And while "The Desolation Of Smaug" stays on the original December 13th release date for Part Two, "The Hobbit: There And Back Again" has officially got a release date, of July 18th, 2014. It's a bullish move by Warner Bros, as it's the same date that 20th Century Fox had already marked out for their "X-Men: First Class" sequel "X-Men: Days Of Future Past."

It's become a key slot in recent years thanks to the success of "The Dark Knight," "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "The Dark Knight Rises," and the move's already made some geek fans hilariously pissy. Obviously the films are unlikely to open at the same time, and unless the unthinkable happens and "The Hobbit" disappoints at the box office this December, we imagine it'll be Fox that blinks first, leaving them with the tricky business of finding a slot in a schedule already full of sequels and superhero fare like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," their own "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes," "Transformers 4" and "Guardians Of The Galaxy."

But to sum up, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits on December 14th 2012, "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug" (which really is kind of a terrible title) on December 13th, 2013, and "The Hobbit: There And Back Again" on July 18th 2014. Now all Peter Jackson needs to do is write the extra film...

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  • J | December 17, 2013 4:42 PMReply

    Dissappointed...played the game (the Hobbit-pc) to get an ending. I mean really...another 20 minutes and this could have had a good ending. SO SICK OF HOLLY-WOODS NEED TO EXTEND MOVIES BEYOND THE STORY!

  • Rich | November 29, 2012 2:49 PMReply

    Clearly the author has never read the book. 'The Desolation of Smaug' is referenced directly from the maps which Tolkien drew for the book. It is absolutely appropriate as a title.

    For what it's worth I generally feel that film adaptations of books massively cut too much from the original material to squeeze it into the limitations of the movie format. A film-maker giving himself space to do the book justice strikes me as being an entirely sound approach. At least I probably won't walk away from the movie feeling short-changed that the book has been disrespected.

  • Random Comments | September 3, 2012 9:24 AMReply

    It should be "The Hobbit: The Road Goes Ever On," because then the titles flow together.

  • Stranger | September 1, 2012 1:44 PMReply

    Jackson might have shot himself in the foot because a large portion of his built-in audience are not especially receptive to this kind of editing and amending and as he proceeds will likely become even more hostile to it, but these films should do well because they are a well-tested (albeit in this fast-paced ever-changing climate of the blockbuster culture, somewhat elderly) brand and WB will spend a lot of money putting these out there, and the core fanbase, the kind of audience who give this kind of franchise longevity instead of rejecting it will likely, as with the Star Wars prequels, complain loudly about every aspect of the production but instead of voting with their wallets will inexplicably eat it up and beg for more.

    Personally, I am not looking forward to seeing what kind of gluttonous revisions Jackson will need to make to inflate a taught simple story into a such needlessly long adaptation. Gross.

  • Anon | September 2, 2012 12:38 AM

    Thankfully Jackson isn't just doing the "taught simple story". Maybe you haven't heard but the reason for the extra movies is not just to drag it out. They are incorporating a lot of material that wasn't in The Hobbit originally, nevertheless it's material that can be found in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings. We get to see what happens with Gandalf in Dol Guldur among other things.

  • 78c | September 1, 2012 10:41 AMReply

    I feel breaking The Hobbit into parts was a really bad idea from the start. Wikipedia has the 1st edition as 310 pages. It should have been kept to three hours.

  • jasperb94 | January 3, 2014 10:38 PM

    Just because a book only has 310 pages does not mean that it can simply be put into a movie that is only 3 hours long. especially a book like the hobbit, it has vast amounts of content that I personally do not feel a 3 hour movie could do justice., I feel that Jackson knew what he was doing making this three parts, to fit even the content of parts 1 and 2 that have been released into a 3 hour movie would not be able to include the depth that they have gone to.

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