Once again it’s all-change for The Hobbit. With the project now spreading its wings to become a trilogy instead of a pair, you can imagine it’s caused a few repercussions, with various changes to the titles of each instalment. The second film is now to be called The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

The final film in the trilogy will now assume the original name of the second episode, The Hobbit: There And Back Again. The Desolation Of Smaug will open on 13 December 2013, with the final episode arriving some seven months later on 18 July 2014.

Here’s what Dan Fellman, Warner’s President of Domestic Distribution had to say about it:

“We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films of The Hobbit Trilogy. Opening in July affords us not only the perfect summer tentpole, but fans will have less time to wait for the finale of this epic adventure.”

Who or what is Smaug, you ask?  For those of you who don’t know, Smaug is the name of the villainous dragon upon whom the dwarves wish to wage war, and according to TotalFilm, Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices the beastie, recently dropped a hint as to when the scaly nuisance will rear its ugly head (at least, we assume it’s ugly – we could be wrong).

“I think my eye might open at the end of the first film and then you’ll get the rest of me in the second,” the star commented recently. However, that quote might not be too accurate anymore, as this was said before the saga was confirmed as a trilogy. We reckon there’s a possibility Smaug’s debut may yet be pushed back a little, depending on Peter Jackson‘s plans.

The first episode of the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be opening in theaters December 14 2012, and will be showing at higher frames rates only in select cinemas.

What do you think of the latest Hobbit news?