The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies director Peter Jackson came to Comic-Con with his cast (and brought The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies teaser trailer) and we caught up with the esteemed and Oscar-winning director as he shared his vision for the conclusion of his The Hobbit trilogy.
Of course, we had to start with the title change from The Hobbit: There and Back Again to what will be adorning marquees when the film lands December 17.
“The title change came about when we did an assembly of the third movie, last year. As we were cutting the second movie, we also put a version of the third movie together, just so that we could watch a rough thing of it. And I watched it last year and knew it had to be called The Battle of the Five Armies. That was just the right title for it,” Jackson admitted.
“So, when we were at the junket for The Desolation of Smaug in Berlin, I pulled the Warner Bros. people aside and said, ‘Listen, we don’t have to discuss it now, but when you see the movie, which we’ll show you when we’ve got a proper cut in a few months time, just be warned that I’m going to change the name to The Battle of the Five Armies.’ They saw the movie and agreed. There was no debate about it.”
Jackson then explained specifically why the change was necessary. “The There and Back Again title worked when there was two movies, but now there’s three,” he added.
The director who knows Middle Earth better than anyone then explained how, like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogy was shot and edited for people to take it as one great and fantastical journey.
“The progression of the tone from the first Hobbit to this one is what you would expect it to be. It is what you would anticipate from seeing the first two. It starts at a certain point of innocence and naivety, and things are starting to get darker and darker, and the screws are getting tighter. By the time we are done with this film, which is going to be the most emotional and tense of the three... I think it’s my favorite of the three,” Jackson said.
Jackson also promised that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will compel from its opening moment through the closing credits. And most importantly, it will flow into the trilogy that closed with what you see when you watch The Return of the King online.
“It’s got a nice thriller pace to it. When you get to the end of it, I think it’s going to feel like the right time to hand it over to The Fellowship of the Ring. It will feel like it’s gone on that journey. I’ve always been aware of it being a six-film set,” Jackson said.
“One day, long after all of this is all over, all that’s ever going to exist in the world is these movies, as a six-film series. That’s how future generations are going to think of them.”
When one mentions the Oscar-winning Return of the King, you cannot talk about the film without that climactic and explosive battle scene. With the word “battle” in the title of his final The Hobbit trilogy movie, Jackson addresses the pressure to follow up that Return of the King battle scene with one even more riveting.
“When they get into combat, the storyline is still evolving. Things happen in the middle of the battle that change the storyline of certain characters, and there’s a lot to follow it. It’s going to go into the battle with lots of tension,” Jackson said.
“The thing with battles is that you can kill off one or two people, and God knows, there’s a few of them that need to get killed off. So, we could possibly have characters dying in this film. We can afford to have some emotion that we haven’t seen in The Hobbit yet. We certainly crank it up in this one.”