The Third Hobbit Has A Name & Date

Middle story is The Desolation Of Smaug

Yes, Hobbit fans, it’s true. The much rumoured and now 100% rock-solid official third film in Peter Jackson’s latest visit to Middle-earth does have a name. And that name is… The Hobbit: There And Back Again. “But… Oh, wise and mighty wizards at Empire,” we hear some of you ask, “Isn’t that the name of the second film? Have you been smoking pipe-weed?” Well, it was the name of the second film. But now the middle chunk will be called The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

That’s not all the news, which was announced, surprisingly, on a Friday afternoon before a US holiday weekend (that's surprising because this is not bad news anyone would want to bury). The other glad tiding is that you won’t have to wait long for film numero three.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives on Dec 14 this year as planned, and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug hits screens on December 13, 2013, as was always the schedule for the second film. Then the freshly retitled The Hobbit: There And Back Again will be in cinemas on July 18, 2014.

Why the shorter gap? “We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films. Opening in July affords us not only the perfect summer tent pole, but fans will have less time to wait for the finale of this epic adventure," Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said in a statement picked up by The Hollywood Reporter.

So how excited are you? And what do you reckon to the name of the new instalment?