I understand if you’re feeling Middle Earth fatigue. It’s been a long, winding, tumultuous road since the first Lord of the Rings (LOTR, for us fans) came out way back in 2001. “Didn’t we just have a Hobbit movie?” You may be wondering aloud. “Didn’t we just go on a full Hobbit journey?” “Yes,” I say. But also “no.” The thing is, we have one more movie to go in this J.R.R. Tolkein saga and this one is going to be THE movie. If excitement wasn’t already abounding for how this whole Hobbit thing would wrap up, new images from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies released this week give us a very intriguing close look at the film.

What can we say at this point? This last movie will NOT disappoint, and I would wager some mighty high stakes on that. Even if you have missed some of the previous flicks you will not want to miss this last goodbye. Not only is it a super historic conclusion to a beloved series, it’s just going to be down right GOOD. Here are only a few of the reasons to make The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies your Dec. 17 priority.

The Cast

First, let’s look at the players. Many of the same actors who brought you LOTR went back to New Zealand to make the Hobbit movies which not only shows dedication, it keeps the lines between the films quite seamless. Think: Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, the list goes on. Of course there are also other fabulous Hobbit-y names like Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Evangeline Lilly to watch. Top this all of with the cherry: direction, once again, by Peter Jackson. I just gave you a literal bouquet of wonderful people, now give me ONE good reason why you wouldn’t want to see them all in an epic battle for Middle Earth.

The Music

The amazing music should be just another element you’re JAZZED to experience. The soundtrack for BOFA is already available on iTunes and, yup, it’s awesome. Peregrin “Pippin” Took from LOTR aka Billy Boyd has a fantastic band, Beecake, which just released a fabulous new music video, and his song “The Last Goodbye” will be featured at the end of this movie just so you’re forced to bawl house-sized tears. Composer Howard Shore won’t help your tear ducts any either, because once you hear that quintessential Hobbit theme song (you know, the one that conjures up endless images of the Shire) you’ll be all kinds of homesick for Middle Earth. Howard Shore has been composing for LOTR and The Hobbit for what seems like forever, and his music is perfection.

The Visuals

J.R.R. Tolkien spent his life devoted to making his Middle Earth realistic, and seeing our pal Sir Peter Jackson bringing all those amazing ideas to life is truly special. For millions, these fantastical books are near and dear to our hearts and all we want is to see a vision of Middle Earth that is true to ours and will bring more people into the fold. Sure, the stakes were high for Jackson to create these worlds, but he was the ultimate fan and he came out with victorious films to prove it. (Silmarillion, next please!).

The Merchandise

To mark this momentous occasion, the official Hobbit Shop, sponsored by Warner Bros., has created an official BOFA shirt, but the shop also has the One Ring, a Gandalf hat, hobbit feet, elf ears, and other wicked amazing products. All of these exciting items are made specifically for BOFA, so get purchasing. This will be the end of Middle Earth as you know it, so be sure to get your souvenir and wear it proudly on opening night.

The Sentiment

While you watch BOFA next week (you’re going to see it, right?) just remember that it’s the last installment of the Middle Earth movies, and many people in the theater will be shedding a tear (or a million). This is real. Saying goodbye to this series is simultaneously devastating and exciting. Now, Middle Earth fans can revisit the movies with Jackson’s extended cuts anytime, re-read Tolkien’s masterpieces, and perhaps even visit New Zealand. Until next we meet, in the words of Pippin, “I bid you a fond farewell.”

[Images via]