The recently announced third film of Jackson’s opus has been given a worldwide release date of July 18, 2014. It has also been given the subtitle There And Back Again, initially the subtitle for the second film before Jackson and company decided to expand the film adaptation by an additional 50%.
The second Hobbit film, previously scheduled for December 13, 2013, will now sport the subtitle The Desolation of Smaug, a reference to the dragon that guards a great dwarvish treasure that is the goal of the quest that the titular character is coerced into going on.
The first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opens this December 14.
In a press release Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, stated, “We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films of ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy. Opening in July affords us not only the perfect summer tentpole, but fans will have less time to wait for the finale of this epic adventure.”
If you haven’t read the original book, turn away now.
With this announcement we have a much better look at how Jackson is intending to break the book into three films. As had been the assumption all along, it appears that the first film will cover all the action up to Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the company of dwarves escape the wood elves and arrive at at Laketown. The second film’s title now suggests that the second book will pretty much cover the encounter with the dragon Smaug and his eventual fate at the hands of Bard of Laketown, leaving the fallout from the dragon’s death, the Battle of the Five Armies, for the third film.