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The Battle of the Five Armies is about to get bloodier. Well, we assume bloodier, because Warner Bros. officially announced the extended edition of the final Hobbit trilogy installment will be rated R. Of course, there are other features coming to the home release, but this the most interesting tidbit.
According to ComicBook.com, the WB will release The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies extended edition on November 17. Twenty minutes of extra footage will be added to this cut — which presumably accounts for the R rating — and more than nine hours of special features will be included. These include: commentary with Peter Jackson and co-producer Philippa Boyens; The Appendices Parts XI and XII, which chronicles the history of the filming; and a feature called "New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 3."
Elsewhere, the extended editions of all three Hobbit films will be screened in theaters this October over the course of three nights. TheOneRing.net reports that the festivities will kick off on October 5 with An Unexpected Journey, followed by The Desolation of Smaug on October 7, and finishing with the Battle of the Five Armies on October 13. Note that this seems to be the tentative schedule, as of now, so be sure to check your local listings. But it’s all leading up to that R-rated cut.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies sees Thorin, Bilbo and the dwarves dealing with the repercussions of unleashing Smaug upon the people of Lake-town, in addition to the encroaching orc army heading towards the Lonely Mountain. It’s unclear exactly why the final film was bumped up to R, but you can only imagine what must be shown in those extra 20 minutes. The MPAA cited "some violence" for the rating, though they went into further detail in labeling the standard theatrical cut PG-13 for "extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images," which seems a bit more foreboding, if you ask me.
One source could possibly be the film’s massive battle, though it’s hard to imagine anyone calling for an even longer version of it. Still, apart from added nudity and cussing, which weren’t cited in the rating, more intense and graphic violence seems to be coming for this battle. Back in December, Peter Jackson said that the film will feature some "additional Beorn stuff," referring to the shapeshifter played by Mikael Persbrandt. It seems unlikely that he alone could justify an R rating, unless, of course, he shifts into his bear form and brutally mauls a couple of dwarves or orcs. We’ll have to wait until November to find out for sure.