Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy has grown a lot from its original inception, expanding the 300 page book first into two movies and then into three, thanks to additional material from The Lord of the Rings‘ appendices. New Line also considered several different subtitles before settling on An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again for the three films.

The subtitle for the upcoming third film in the trilogy is a little odd, since technically speaking Bilbo and the dwarves are already “there” (i.e. at the Lonely Mountain) by the end of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In fairness, The Hobbit: Back Again isn’t too compelling a movie title, but there are plenty of other options that New Line could have gone for instead.

According to fan-run site The One Ring, the studio may have elected to do just that. A “reliable source” claims that New Line has registered a new title – The Hobbit: Into the Fire. Of course, it’s not unusual for studios to register multiple possible movie titles that are under consideration, but it is unusual for new titles to be registered at this late stage. If The Hobbit: Into the Fire has been registered, then the best explanation would be that New Line has decided to change the subtitle of the final film to something with a bit more spark.

As with the other subtitles, Into the Fire is derived from J.R.R. Tolkien’s original novel: it’s an excerpt from a chapter title in “The Hobbit”, in which the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo escape the goblin caves only to be chased by Wargs up into some trees, which are then set on fire. This scene took place towards the end of the first film in the trilogy, but the phrase “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” is an apt way to describe a lot of Bilbo’s adventures throughout the book.

Another possibility, of course, is that The Hobbit has been stretched out into four films instead of just three, which at this point wouldn’t be too hard to believe. It’s more likely, however, that the title has been registered for a tie-in property or that it’s being considered as a replacement for There and Back Again. There is, after all, likely to be a great deal of fire in the third film, but announcing this title prior to the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug could have been considered a spoiler for that movie’s stopping point. Perhaps The Hobbit: There and Back Again was simply a holding title.

Do you think The Hobbit: Into the Fire is a better title than The Hobbit: There and Back Again? Tell us in the comments which one you think would be a better fit for the final installment in the trilogy.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again is set for release on December 17, 2014.

Source: The One Ring