It’s been over 15 years since Peter Jackson embarked on adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. When the series concluded with Return of the King in 2003, it proved to be one of the most successful franchises in terms of visual effects (especially Andy Serkis’ motion capture performance as Gollum/Smeagol), critical and fan response, as well as box office returns; together, the three films grossed upwards of $2.9 billion. Though Jackson’s followup trilogy, based on Tolkien’s prequel novel The Hobbit, has seen similar financial success, it has also received some criticism for varying aspects, such as a reliance on CGI.

Nevertheless, Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy will come to an end in December when The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies premieres in theaters. Leading up to the final chapter’s release, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema are bringing the film — and its director — to their movie panel at San Diego Comic Con.

Prior to the convention, Jackson released an exclusive SDCC poster for The Battle of Five Armies on his Facebook. The poster for “The Defining Chapter” of the trilogy features Smaug the dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) descending on a burning Esgaroth — a.k.a. Lake-Town — and facing off with Bard (Luke Evans), who was introduced in Desolation of Smaug.

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The panel at SDCC will be the last of its kind dedicated to Jackson’s formative six-part franchise. As mentioned in our Comic-Con preview, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema will likely show footage and display props from the upcoming film to please fans of the long-lasting geek property.

The exclusive SDCC poster doesn’t shy away from recognizing the finality of The Battle of Five Armies –  dubbing the movie “The Defining Chapter” seems to acknowledge that this film is not just the conclusion of a trilogy released over the course of three years, but the culmination of a longstanding pillar that has often bridged the gap between geeks and cinema. It will be tasked with living up to the other Hobbit films in addition to all three films from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

At SDCC, The Battle of Fire Armies must share Warner Bros.’ Comic-Con panel with Mad Max: Fury Road and Jupiter Ascending, but hopefully Jackson can pay homage to his beloved franchise while also generating some buzz around the upcoming film.

The Warner Bros. San Diego Comic-Con panel will be held in Hall H @10 AM on Saturday, July 26th.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in U.S. theaters on December 17th, 2014.

Source: Peter Jackson