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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
How There and Back Again became The Battle of the Five Armies. And why.

News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Apr 25 2014, 3:09am

Post #1 of 22 (1340 views)
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How There and Back Again became The Battle of the Five Armies. And why. Can't Post

THE HOBBIT - FAKE BOFA TITLEWell, that was a surprise.

Even following our spy report last week that Warner Bros. (via New Line) had registered a new title for its trilogy of Hobbit films, I thought it unlikely they actually would follow through and make a change.

Mostly because There And Back Again seemed too established as a name and it seemed a bit irrational to toss away all that brand recognition.

On the other hand, it's almost inarguable those two words The Hobbit are the true key that deliver all that goodwill (in an accounting sense) toward the films. And Warner Bros, with nothing more than the announcement of a mid-stream title change, have just scored the film millions of dollars worth of free editorial. That's gold for any marketer.



Jokingly, one suggests they could simply re-brand the thing every few months all the way up till December.

Regardless, we are now full speed ahead toward The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Peter-Jackson-Doctor-Who Peter Jackson's statement suggests the production team felt that the name There And Back Again had become misplaced after the three-film split, and the events of The Desolation of Smaug. Thorin and company, as Jackson points out, are already There. (I did offer an alternative perspective on that just last week, but it nevertheless seems a valid concern.)

Jackson continues:


When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. 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.


No mention of Into The Fire.

However, note that both production team and Warner Bros. have been considering the issue since before Christmas. Which is a fair chunk of time to do a bunch of brainstorming and little bit of focus-group testing.

And this is what our spy suggested to us a few days could have been occurring. Clarifying the registration of the title, our spy told us:


I'm sure it's WB's marketing department braintrust rearranging the furniture because some focus group told them "There And Back Again" wasn't testing dynamically enough.

Studios do this sort of thing all the time. That new Batman/Superman movie has registered dozens of potential titles.


Legolas_Bard Importantly, our spy added that Into The Fire was registered with an organisation that deals only with movies, and not video games, tv shows or books (and not even DVD/Blu-ray extras). Thus we must conclude that as recently as last week, Into The Fire was in the mix as a potential title for the final Hobbit film.

I suggest that, out of an undoubtedly longer of possibilities, the final choice boiled down to three options: the pre-existing There And Back Again, the previously registered The Battle of the Five Armies and Into The Fire, which was registered as recently as nine days ago, and prompted our fuss-causing spy report.

But, the fan reaction to Into The Fire proved overwhelmingly negative. Unflattering remarks and comparisons abounded in our comment threads on the front-page post, on our Facebook account and on the TORn messageboards. Despite it obviously being a nod to a chapter title of The Hobbit novel (or perhaps because it felt too tenuous and generally a poor link).

Faced with an option that fans hated, and one that Jackson and his crew felt no longer fit the plot of the movie, there was only one alternative. And thus, today, we officially have The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.



It's one theory that fits the known facts anyway.

Instead, There And Back Again will almost certainly be used for an eventual box-set release. Now there's a piece of news that will surprise precisely no-one -- expect a box-set of all three films (probably in Extended Edition format, like with LOTR) at some point.

Now that certainly is a fitting sub-title to encompass all three films, and this will perhaps placate the many folk who agitated to for the retention of There And Back Again.

Battle of Five Armies One last thought: as a title, The Battle of The Five Armies might also provide fans pointers as to content.

The struggle for control of the dragon's hoard almost certainly becomes the centrepiece of the film. Previously, some have speculated that it might not be too much bigger than whatever Jackson has planned for The White Council forcing Sauron from Dol Guldur.

Now I suspect the Dol Guldur battle will be short and sharp -- which is more canonically consistent with Sauron's feigned flight into the East as detailed in the The Lord of the Rings.

On the other hand, the Battle of the Five Armies will be an enormous and extended set-piece occupying a substantial portion of the film, and encompassing the lead-in negotiations, Bilbo's betrayal of Thorin, the confrontation at the gate, the subsequent arrival of Dain (I really want to see a war-moose versus war-pig faceoff between Thranduil and Dain regardless of how silly it sounds) and only then the battle itself.

Plus the tragic aftermath.

It probably also means that the journey home is truly little more than a coda. The last two chapters of Tolkien's novel (The Return Journey and The Last Stage) are famously brief, but I wonder if the film might not almost directly cut to Bag End. I still hope to see tea with Balin, though.

Demosthenes has been an incredibly nerdy staff member at TheOneRing.net since 2001. The views (and wacky theories) in this article are his own, and do not necessarily represent those of the site, or of other TORn staff.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Apr 25 2014, 9:15am

Post #2 of 22 (870 views)
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Battle of Dol Gulder [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your thoughts I would be interested in where you think the "Battle" of DG occurs.

In the book of course Sauron had been dealt with before the BOFA. Given he is now portrayed as the chief sponsor of BOFA and is driving his slaves rather like LOTR I can not see it being prior.

Perhaps after BOFA the White Council story line is intercut with the tragedy that the BOFA generates. Like you I think the journey home will be swift and may only breathe in the EE. These days people can not wait to leave the cinema and switch on their black berrys and the like.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Apr 25 2014, 9:16am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 25 2014, 2:10pm

Post #3 of 22 (747 views)
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Dol Guldur must be dealt with before the Bo5A. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien, of course, had the White Council's assault on the Necromancer take place by the time that Thorin & Co. reached Lake-town. We know that thiat is right out the window, but it still ought to occur in time for Gandalf to reach Erebor before the Battle of the Five Armies.

Maybe Jackson will tease the audience a bit by opening the film at Dol Guldur and Gandalf's situation before returning to Smaug and Lake-town. Even then, I don't see the full Council showing up until after the dragon is dealt with--making the audience wait that long for the Lake-town battle would just be cruel.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Elessar
Valinor


Apr 25 2014, 3:04pm

Post #4 of 22 (708 views)
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Well said [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the new title well enough anyways but would really have liked to see it stay TABA.



Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Apr 25 2014, 3:13pm

Post #5 of 22 (704 views)
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Saurons involvement in the BOFA is entirely different in the movies [In reply to] Can't Post

The consequence of this creates the big question for December. If you deliver a knock out punch to Sauron before BOFA then surely the failure of the "Master" would lead to the same effect as his eventual demise. All the orcs and Messrs Azog & Bolg will pick up their toys and go home.

I do not pretend to know the answer but I am inclined to agree with the view that the WC & Sauron encounter will be swift {and mythological (aka Sauron and Gandalf in DOS) } .

One interesting option is the White Council do rescue Gandalf and Sauron feigns defeat and there is a dramatic switch where it becomes clear he is still on track and urges on his slaves for battle in the north.

We know Gandalf turns up in Dale with Radagast's staff desperate to protect his friends maybe after the BOFA he will then turn his attention to Azogs boss the latter of whom has been very deliberately charged with leading his armies.

At a global audience level it would be easier to follow if the final denouement of the BOFA is the showdown between the WC and Sauron (and the ringwraiths). This would be in the spirit of Tolkien and echo Morgoth's final fall where at the end of the War of Wrath the Valar finally confront and humble him.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Apr 25 2014, 3:15pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 25 2014, 3:29pm

Post #6 of 22 (686 views)
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It isn't as though the Orcs have access to modern communications. [In reply to] Can't Post

Once the Orcs have their orders and march off to war, they are on their own. They are not going to know a thing about what happens back at Dol Guldur while they are off to Erebor. That said, Jackson must have his own ideas about how this plays out.


Quote

At a global audience level it would be easier to follow if the final denouement of the BOFA is the showdown between the WC and Sauron (and the ringwraiths). This would be in the spirit of Tolkien and echo Morgoth's final fall where at the end of the War of Wrath the Valar finally confront and humble him.



I would hope that the denouement of the Bo5A would be Thorin's final scene with Bilbo, followed by the journey home and Gandalf & Balin's visit. All the major subplots should be resolved before the battle; the rest should be about wrapping things up.


'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Apr 25 2014, 3:41pm

Post #7 of 22 (675 views)
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Hierarchy of the spirit [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it would feel pretty odd at a spiritual hierarchical level and a knowing audience to have the battle prosecuted by all the vestiges of evil with their leader already defeated or seemingly defeated.

Would Gandalf not just stride out on to the battle field and tell Azog its over and more to the point in this sub created world would not Azog sense or even know that his leader has been defeated.

Gandalf has got to physically make the journey after the battle that you are suggesting Saurons loses. News off his reversal would travel north at the same speed.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 25 2014, 3:53pm

Post #8 of 22 (685 views)
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This is where it gets complicated... [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron planned on losing to the White Council. Tolkien made it clear in LotR that the Council was deceived when Sauron withdrew from Mirkwood; his plan all along, once he learned of the gathering of the White Council, was to return to Mordor and rebuild from there.

Taking the above into consideration, Jackson may give Sauron an alternate plan. This could involve the Battle of Five Armies but, if so, it should be incorporated into the fight (last-minute reinforcements?), not introduced afterwards.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


MirielCelebel
Rivendell


Apr 25 2014, 7:39pm

Post #9 of 22 (640 views)
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I'm really on the fence [In reply to] Can't Post

as to how I feel about the title change. On the one hand, I loved "There and Back Again" as a good conclusion title to not just a three movie trilogy but as a close to a six part film saga. I feel like "The Battle of The Five Armies" tells viewers exactly what happens in the film! It also tells me that we will see mostly a battle in this movie as opposed to the end of a story but I hope I'm wrong. On the other hand being named for the battle, they are forcing the devotion of a good chunk of film time to the "tragic aftermath" alluded to in this article. I want to cry my eyes out so now they have more time to do that. Either way I hope I'm not disappointed by this last film.

"The Road goes ever on..."

Writing Bliss


The Grey Wanderer
Lorien


Apr 25 2014, 10:06pm

Post #10 of 22 (609 views)
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I think telling the viewers what happens in the film is half the reason... [In reply to] Can't Post

so that they are not surprised when all the cliff hangers from the last movie are completely resolved early on and the rest is just multiple endings. Sitting in a theater for hours and thinking the climax is behind them will not keep the early viewers in the desired state of excitement - whereas knowing that the climax is yet to come will help build a feeling of excitement and hence an overall better experience...which they will then express to the world and more will come. I think the new title, lame as it is, will better set the audiences expectations and building anticipation during the viewing. Wise marketing.


MechaGodzilla
Rivendell


Apr 26 2014, 1:58am

Post #11 of 22 (547 views)
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But would Azog care? [In reply to] Can't Post

From what we've seen of Azog's interaction with Sauron and reaction to being called back to Dol Guldur, I think if he heard of Sauron's "defeat", he'd see it as an opportunity to go after Thorin more than anything. Orcs, or rather some orcs I should say, strike me as being more independent than just mindless slaves. They act out of their own selfish desires unless forced to obey their masters.

I think it would make Azog and/or Bolg much more impressive villains/characters if they basically said "screw Sauron" and went on with their own business. That is, if they even find out about Sauron being driven out of Dol Guldur.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Apr 26 2014, 6:08am

Post #12 of 22 (528 views)
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A diversion [In reply to] Can't Post

Whilst I have no idea how this pans out we can all think Tolkien and what works in story telling terms.

For the dark lord to be confronted in his lair and seemingly defeated before his minions who are emboldened by his presence seems at odds to me.

In the BOTPF Theoden died because Gandalf was called away to deal with the unfolding catastrophe of Denethor's suicide rather than confront the Witch King. G foresees this outcome in making the choice to return to the citadel.

In the BOFA book version Gandalf was injured and largely absent from the fighting. The Gandalf we have come to know through the LOTR would not be so impotent and if placed in the centre of the battle field would have repelled Azog and Thorin's death avoided.

One possibility is that once again Gandalf is absent from the Battlefield at the crucial point so as to deal with Sauron, is injured (and rescued by Galadriel).

The outcome of the BOFA and WC/Sauron would then be concurrent and add layers with intercutting between the two as happened in DOS and ROTK. The jeopardy would crescendo in one flowing movement and curiously enough would make the choice of In To The Fire (Lake town/BOFA and DG) a more all encompassing title for what will unfold because all will indeed enter the fire.

Gandalfs absence from the BOFA battlefield would also give more weight and authority to both Dain and Beorns interventions.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Apr 26 2014, 6:13am)


Noria
Gondor

Apr 26 2014, 12:27pm

Post #13 of 22 (490 views)
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Very good point, Grey Wanderer [In reply to] Can't Post

Resolving the Smaug/Laketown confrontation and other cliffhangers early on could be a real structural problem for the movie. Changing the title helps to mitigate that, for the reasons you outlined.


Eleniel
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2014, 12:30pm

Post #14 of 22 (494 views)
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If Gandalf is absent from the battlefield.... [In reply to] Can't Post

and therefore, the build-up to the battle, who will stop Thorin from killing that "descendant of rats" Bilbo?
...Balin?? ...Thranduil??


We've also seen shots of Gandalf in Dale with Leggy & Tauriel, and clutching Radagast's staff, which presumably are from before the fighting takes place...


"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Victoria Monfort


Elarie
Grey Havens

Apr 26 2014, 1:05pm

Post #15 of 22 (486 views)
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If the marketing focuses only on the battle I think they'll lose some audience [In reply to] Can't Post

If I wasn't already a Middle Earth fan, and I saw a movie titled, "The Battle of the Five Armies" and all the previews focused on some big battle, I would probably skip it. I know people who have been to see one or both of the previous Hobbit movies, but aren't particularly interested in them, so you can't really count on the fact that it's the last of the trilogy to bring people in. Hopefully, the trailers and previews will show people that there's more going on in the movie than the title suggests.

Hop to it, Radagast, we've got dark powers to sleigh.


Hanzkaz
Rohan

Apr 26 2014, 1:33pm

Post #16 of 22 (481 views)
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I think that people actually missed the great Middle-Earth battles - [In reply to] Can't Post

 - so knowing that there actually is another one in the third movie, and one involving five armies will actually increase audience numbers.

On top of that, some fans just won't be able to wait to see just what Legolas surfs down this time. (I know that sounds like a joke. It isn't.)

___________________________________________________


From the makers of 'The Lord of the Rings' comes the sequel to Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy -
'The War in the North, Part I : The Sword in the Tomb'.



Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Apr 26 2014, 1:39pm

Post #17 of 22 (469 views)
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Once The Battle Is Under Weigh [In reply to] Can't Post

I may well be completely off but I thought about the episodic nature of the Battle Of The Pelennor Fields with its many twists and turns. At different points Gandalf was involved and rallying the men of M T and at others concerned with other matters. He could be involved in the politics and nuances and then be forced to leave taking flight with the Eagles.

The site of the enemy emptying out from DG sponsored by Sauron changes many things. As you know In the book
the arrival of Bolg and his army is a surprise this will not work now once Gandalf is free to travel north he has been shown witnessing their departure. Indeed he we will dash North to warn them The Dwarves Elves and Men will now prepare for battle knowingly so the matter of the Arkenstone will sit as in the book before the battle and in changed geo political circumstances where it is known the enemy is at hand.

I have done enough speculating but the changed title and the way DOS concludes with Sauron's army publicly and knowingly on the march is I believe significant and will lead to a changing of the development of the narrative. In particular it places Sauron inside the narrative outcome and not just other separate disconnected business. Otherwise why invest so much in developing the interconnectedness all the way from Weathertop, through the orc interviewed by Thranduil and of course Smaug. Evil is rising together and I suspect will stumble together.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.


Elarie
Grey Havens

Apr 26 2014, 1:46pm

Post #18 of 22 (466 views)
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Surfing and moth-mail [In reply to] Can't Post

True - There's always some Leggy surfing and some Gandalf moth-mail to look forward to. Smile

Hop to it, Radagast, we've got dark powers to sleigh.


Lurker in the Mirk
Valinor


Apr 27 2014, 7:38am

Post #19 of 22 (407 views)
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LOL ... those are 2 things that we can count on for sure [In reply to] Can't Post

I just hope no one else does the surfing, and am looking forward to seeing how Gandalf deploys the moth this time.


Fan of both books and movies. Oh, and it seems I have severely misnamed myself... for the moment.

Thranduil Appreciation: I, II, III



Elciryamo
Rivendell

Apr 28 2014, 4:41am

Post #20 of 22 (362 views)
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That may be the common thread [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I may well be completely off but I thought about the episodic nature of the Battle Of The Pelennor Fields with its many twists and turns. At different points Gandalf was involved and rallying the men of M T and at others concerned with other matters. He could be involved in the politics and nuances and then be forced to leave taking flight with the Eagles.

The site of the enemy emptying out from DG sponsored by Sauron changes many things. As you know In the book
the arrival of Bolg and his army is a surprise this will not work now once Gandalf is free to travel north he has been shown witnessing their departure. Indeed he we will dash North to warn them The Dwarves Elves and Men will now prepare for battle knowingly so the matter of the Arkenstone will sit as in the book before the battle and in changed geo political circumstances where it is known the enemy is at hand.

I have done enough speculating but the changed title and the way DOS concludes with Sauron's army publicly and knowingly on the march is I believe significant and will lead to a changing of the development of the narrative. In particular it places Sauron inside the narrative outcome and not just other separate disconnected business. Otherwise why invest so much in developing the interconnectedness all the way from Weathertop, through the orc interviewed by Thranduil and of course Smaug. Evil is rising together and I suspect will stumble together.


The Hobbit narrative is a bit more episodic, but the films have taken on the role of being more about a common thread of growth (for Bilbo) and the rise of evil (inner evil in Thror and Thorin, outer evil of Smaug, and now Sauron). Because of the rise of evil, you have good attempting to counter it and not just by force of arms. I think that Gandalf is trying to get the Dwarves to unite, much in the way Aragorn united the realms of Men.

Also, the attack of the Orcs may still be a surprise to the other armies, even if it isn't to the audience. Bear in mind, we knew that Saruman was raising an army to destroy Rohan, but they did not know it until Aragorn spotted them on his ride to Helm's Deep. In a way, Gandalf may serve the role of Aragorn in preparing the defense against Bolg, and provide a common enemy to the fractured people's at Erebor.

There is a lot more subtlety at play than I think is first realized, and Bo5A is probably going to have some twists and turns.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Apr 28 2014, 5:51am

Post #21 of 22 (358 views)
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The threads that weave into a common strand. [In reply to] Can't Post

When I described the Pelennor Fields as episodic that was probably the wrong word. it was modular with many segments which made up the cohesive whole.

It brought together all the political elements of the film leaving just F & S as a separate and distinct narrative.

I think the renaming of the film BOFA may have two reasons :-

1) To make it absolutely clear the demise of the worm is a catalyst to much more story to come rather than the end.

2) To emphasise it is the defining moment of the geo political movement of the story.

I have been idly speculating on the placement of the Battle of Dol Gulder and whether Saurons completion point is at said "Battle" when Benedict himself let slip in 2012 that Sauron is involved in "the battle of the five legions". The interactions between the White Council and Green Screen were filmed in 2011 there is no evidence that Cate, Sir Christopher or Hugo have been called back to re craft their contributions and yet Phillippa talked about Galadriel being at the Battle of Dol Gulder in 2012.

The evidence therefore suggests you are right and that their will be many twists and turns in B O F A before all is revealed.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Apr 28 2014, 5:52am)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Apr 28 2014, 11:03pm

Post #22 of 22 (328 views)
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Awesome catch-phrase! [In reply to] Can't Post

'Deploy the moth!!'Laugh

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?

 
 

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