Is New Line planning to change the title of the final ‘Hobbit’ film?

There are fan sites, and then there are fan sites. The One Ring has been around long enough that they have earned their spot atop the mountain as the end-all be-all source for news on all things involving the cinematic interpretations of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien.

When they call a source reliable, they've been doing this long enough to know what that means, and they wouldn't publish a random rumor unless they were fairly sure there is truth to it. So let's use that as a jumping-off point and just take it as a given that when The One Ring says that New Line is considering a title change for the final chapter of “The Hobbit,” there's something to it.

The original plan for bringing “The Hobbit” to the screen was to break it into two parts. The first would be called “An Unexpected Journey,” and the second would be “There And Back Again.” When they made the decision to break the story into three parts, they named the second film “The Desolation Of Smaug” and left “There And Back Again” as the final title. There was a moment where they registered a possible alternative title, “The Battle Of Five Armies,” but that seemed like something they considered without ever committing to it.

The word today is that “Into The Fire” may now be the title of the final film. It would not be something that they just created out of the blue. It is the partial title of one of the chapters of the book, and it's a more action-oriented title than “There And Back Again,” which might help as New Line battles the perception that these films have been a creative misfire so far.

To be fair, the source tells The One Ring that there's no guarantee they're actually going to change the title of the third film. This could be for a game or for something else that ties in to the release of the film. I have trouble believing they're going to switch titles at this late date, but stranger things have happened, and it would fit with the way this entire project over the course of all three films has felt like a work in progress, like they're still trying to figure out exactly what it is and how to make it all hang together as one giant ten hour movie.

It is strange to see how much animosity there is towards anything related to “The Hobbit” these days when you consider how different the conversation was in the months before the release of “Return Of The King.” Peter Jackson may have set himself an impossible task by returning to Middle-Earth. I can understand every reason he said yes, but he was always setting himself up to be compared to what was, until now, his greatest accomplishment as a storyteller.

At this point, I just want him to get this final film into theaters and then get back to the business of being Peter Jackson. He's spent enough time telling other peoples stories now. I want to see him start to tell his own again.

“The Hobbit: There And Back Again” (or whatever it ends up being called) will be in theaters December 17, 2014.