The second installment in Peter Jackson‘s hotly anticipated ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy has been given a new title, whilst the release date for the final installment has been brought forward.

The second movie, originally titled ‘There and Back Again,’ will now be called ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ in reference to the dragon Smaug and his destruction of Lake Town.

The third installment, which will take on the second films original title ‘There and back again,’ will incorporate material from the appendixes of The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, and is scheduled for an earlier release date of July 14, 2014.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Dan Fellman of Warner Brothers discussed the earlier release date: “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 final of this epic adventure.”

Director Peter Jackson only recently confirmed JRR Tolkien‘s ‘The Hobbit’ would become a movie trilogy; negating original plans for a two-part saga. Posting on his Facebook page the Kiwi director wrote: “We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life.

“All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes’.”

Jackson’s decision to make a trilogy, in addition to the recent title change has ignited speculation on where Jackson will split the movies and how much ‘The Hobbit’ will touch upon material relating to The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ hits screens worldwide on December 15th 2012. ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ follows on December 13th 2013.

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Georgina was responsible for bringing you all of the latest UK Showbiz and Movie news on Running Lip. When she’s not working out of the Running Lip UK office, she loves travelling, having been to Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and various European cities. She is rumored to have outrun a cheetah during a recent trip to South Africa.