'Hobbit' titles: Tolkien touch or Lifetime drama?


On the same weekend that the blandly labeled The Hangover Part II was cleaning up at the box office, Peter Jackson revealed the titles for his two Hobbit films: An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again. Many Tolkien fans rejoiced, as There and Back Again was the subtitle for the original 1937 novel, and An Unexpected Journey echoes the title of the book’s chapter, “An Unexpected Party.”

But are these epic movie titles, on par with The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Return of the King? Because An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again could also pass as Lifetime movies starring Meredith Baxter.

Did Jackson nail it, or are you crinkling your nose at these titles? Vote below.

Read more:
Orlando Bloom joins ‘Hobbit,’ has not aged
Stephen Fry joins ‘The Hobbit’
‘The Hobbit’: Peter Jackson returns to Bag End in new Facebook video

Comments (53 total) Add your comment
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  • Altair

    oh wow, this is a first – I’m first! I have become that person – loving it!!

    • Joe

      So happy for you. A first “first” is truly a momentous occasion in a man’s life. I’m sure your grandchildren will one day marvel at the tale.

      • Altair

        Ahhahahhaha, you’re just jealous … and apparently incapable of reading sarcasm.

      • Woot

        It would have been super awkward if you submitted that post, and it turns out that someone else posted something first…

    • stickittotheman

      To get us back on topic….I like the titles. I was afraid they would choose over-the-top actiony titles, like The Hobbit: This Time its Personal or The Hobbit: Mordor Drift.

      • kathy

        LMAO at “Mordor Drift” — thanks for the chuckle!

      • Mo

        Good ones! I think the premise of the article is all wrong, though. Those subtitles sound much more Hallmark-Channel than Lifetime. A Lifetime title would be completely ridiculous and include “The … Story”. Say, “I Woke Without My Gold: The Smaug Story”, or “A Ring to Remember: The Bilbo Baggins Story”, or “King Under the Mountain: The Thorin Story”.

      • Brett

        or: The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogaloo.

      • Liv

        I like the titles too. They fit right in. Also, can I just say it always shocks me how much younger Peter Jackson looks now that he lost weight.

  • Altair

    oh by-the-by, I actually like the titles.

  • D

    Props on first, I was first…that one time. Titles are good too, nothing is perfect, and these are just fine

  • Bill

    People really still comment about being first? What year is this?

    Love the titles.

    • just saying

      the first thing was old the first time i saw it. so in web years that makes it like 80.

    • Molly

      The only reason people still do it is because it makes people annoyed.

      • lettergirl

        oh come on….being first is fun! geez, grumpy old man, did you forget what it means to have something as simple as being FIRST make ya happy?

  • hannah

    this is a really stupid article/poll

    • Mariah

      This was my first thought, especially given that the author even states that the titles have direct tie-ins to the books. If there ever was a Lifetime movie titled “There and Back Again” the only thing I’d think is that they were ripping off Tolkien.

  • Chic Geek

    Anybody hating on the titles probably never read the book. The titles are very appropriate.

    • Mark

      That’s because the books are self indulgent crap. Trying to read them made me marvel at what Jackson was able to do with that junk.

      • MarkRB

        That’s because they didn’t have pictures in them like you’re used to….

      • k

        Self indulgent? How so? I love The Hobbit. Are you talking about LOTR? I love those too. In what way(s) do you think those books are “self indulgent”?

      • stickittotheman

        The books definitely were not written for those who need speedy reads. Tolkien injected a scholarly level of detail that made the books very long, but very real.

      • carrie


      • JojoBaggins

        Mark, you can’t be serious. The books blow away the films. Jackson is a B-level director that was given the keys to some of the best books ever written. Not looking forward to Hobbit movie(s).

  • Dan

    The titles are great references to the books. They are perfect and relevant, and I don’t think they sound like Lifetime movies.

    • Stacie

      They are a little Lifetime-y, but better than something like “HOBBIT” or “BILBO”. I hate it when Hollywood does that.

      • Mo

        No, they are more Hallmark-y, but they are also perfectly right for The Hobbit.

    • Chelsea

      I have to wonder if this guy even read the novel. These titles have been taken right from the book.

      • Mccade

        This makes evreythnig so completely painless.

  • The Dude

    I think there may have been edgier titles to go with, but it would all depend on what each movie incorporated…as an example, a cool title would have been “The Battle of the Five Armies,” but we don’t know if this will be a small or large part of either movie (or, hell, it may actually be in both movies depending on where Jackson breaks them up). Considering we know very little of how this is gonna be edited, I think the titles are just fine…a nice wink to those who read the book.

  • Eric


  • MikeB

    Love them. Can’t wait for the movies.

  • JLC

    Where is the third choice: this book should never have been split into two movies? I realize it probably wasn’t Jackson’s choice, but The Hobbit is primarily a children’s book and not on the weighty level of LOTR. One movie (particularly one as long as Jackson usually produces) would have been more than sufficient.

    • Mariah

      A children’s book? Have you actually read it? The Chronicles of Narnia are childrens book. The Hobbit is not.

      • JLC

        Yep. Re-read it recently. It is a fairy tale, not a grand epic fantasy adventure like LOTR. And if they plan on using the extra stuff from the LOTR appendices for a separate movie, that will be even worse. The tell a history of Middle Earth, not a coherent story. Make them extras on the DVD. Don’t use them to pad out The Hobbit.

    • opus

      You do understand that the first movie is supposed to be the story told in “The Hobbit” and the second movie is telling the tale of what went on in the sixty years between “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”. If this is true as I understand it, my only problem with the titles is that Jackson is using the actual title of the book for the second movie, in which the Hobbits may not play a huge part since Bilbo’s tale will be over (or nearly so).

      • brian

        That was the original plan, but it’s not any longer. The novel is being split into two movies. And it should be. JLC probably hasn’t read it or hasn’t in some time, or is only familiar with the cartoon version, but the book is actually frightening and fraught with adult anxieties (the Dwarves’ bloodlust/vendetta, the power plays in Laketown, Bilbo’s deceptions re the Arkenstone, the weird/scary bear feasts in Beorn’s house, etc.) and the novel also contains many set pieces and battles that could take up lots of screentime (compared to a page or two of text in a book).

      • JLC

        The novel also includes talking trolls, spiders and dragons. While The Hobbit film might get away with the former two not talking, it won’t be able to get away with a silent Smaug. My description of The Hobbit as a children’s story was not meant as a knock. I actually prefer it to LOTR, partially because it is so self-contained.

  • Chelsea

    Way to nitpick, EW. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these titles.

  • brian

    EW.com should just shut it down.

    • brian

      Also, why start this article by talking about the Hangover 2? Why not start by mentioning that it’s been a year to the weekend since del Toro had to drop out as director?

  • Justin

    Love the titles!

  • mark

    I have not read the books, but I did enjoy the LOTR series by Mr. Jackson. My only confusion is that as a prequel why title it after the book Bilbo was only starting in the movies?

    • julie

      because bilbo was writing about his adventures and everything that led up to that point, which starts with the story in the hobbit. he was writing down his history, which is how, i think, jackson is able to have frodo in the movie. maybe starting off telling the story of bilbo?

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