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OTRC: 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' is new title of third 'Hobbit'

Orlando Bloom appears as Legolas and Martin Freeman appears as Bilbo Baggins in scenes from the 2013 movie 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.' (Warner Bros. Pictures)

"The Hobbit" director Peter Jackson has announced that the title of the upcoming third movie in the series has been changed from "There and Back Again" to "The Battle of the Five Armies," following recent rumors about a possible name switch.

He announced the news on his Facebook page on Thursday, April 24. Spoiler alert for those who have not read the book! The new title references an epic battle between goblins -- some riding on beast-like wargs, against dwarves, elves, eagles and men, as well as a skin-changer, or shape-shifter, named Beorn, as mentioned in J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel, "The Hobbit," on which the trilogy is based.

"'There and Back Again' felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo's arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced?after all, Bilbo has already arrived 'there' in the 'Desolation of Smaug,' Jackson said, referring to the title of the second film, which was released in 2013.

"When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title," he continued. "We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate. And so: 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' it is."

Actor Richard Armitage, who plays dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield, had told OTRC.com just days earlier, at 2014 Wondercon Anaheim, that he was looking forward to seeing the "battle of the five armies" in the third movie. His character participates in the fighting. (Check out the interview with Richard Armitage.)

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" is set for release on Dec. 17. Other stars who reprise their roles include Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), his "Sherlock" co-star Benedict Cumberbatch (the voice of Smaug the dragon), Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf, Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman, and "LOST" alum Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett as elves Tauriel, Legloas and Galadriel.

Reporting by Jacob Burch, producer of the nationally syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings). The series is produced by KABC Television near Los Angeles.

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