Peter Jackson has been saying he wants to split the two Hobbit movies into three and return to New Zealand next summer to film scenes from The Appendices of The Return of the King. Now it’s official. Jackson posted on Facebook, “I’d like to announce that two films will become three. It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, ‘a tale that grew in the telling.'”
Variety reports the third movie will open in the summer of 2014, unlike all of Jackson’s other Middle Earth films, each of them with December premieres. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in the U.S. on December 14th of this year and The Hobbit: There and Back Again is currently slated for December 13, 2013.
As for the title of the third movie, they didn’t take our suggestion of Hobbit 3: The Search For More Money for some reason. MarkMonitor, the company which manages the web domains for the first two Hobbit films, registered several potential movie titles this weekend. Fusible tracked down a list of new Hobbit domains, all of which are variations on The Desolation of Smaug and Riddles in the Dark.
The Desolation of Smaug refers to the unpopulated, barren land around Erebor and Dale, where Smaug the Dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) burned everything with his fiery breath. This would make a fitting title for the third film, as the scenes with Smaug’s lair and The Battle of Five Armies will likely take place at the end of the trilogy.
Riddles in the Dark is the fifth chapter of The Hobbit, which makes me think one of the first two movies might be renamed. I’m guessing the subtitle There and Back Again will have to be changed since they probably won’t be “back again” until the third film. On the other hand, Riddles in the Dark may instead be used for a product tie-in (a game, for example). Or perhaps they’re making an unrelated epic movie about eating Laffy Taffies during a power outage. Just spitballin’ here.
UPDATE: The One Ring spotted another title just registered by MarkMonitor: The Battle of Five Armies.