It seems there are still white knights out there…or at least White Wizards. Gandalf himself, Ian McKellan, along with The Hobbit co-star Stephen Fry, both stepped in to pay the licensing fee for a Southhampton, England pub that for twenty years operated under the name The Hobbit.
It seems that the forces of Mordor let loose the orcs-I mean, Saul Zaentz Company, which has held various rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit since the 70s, sent in the lawyers to force The Hobbit to change their name. The pub also uses character likenesses as well as having drinks named after characters. Zentz then also offered the pub to pay a licensing fee instead.
In step McKellan and Fry, along with their followers on Facebook and Twitter, asking the company to “stand down”, with Fry calling the action “self-defeating bullying” and McKellan saying it was “unnecessary pettiness”. They then told the pub that they would pay the licensing fee.
The pub is still cautious though…the terms haven’t been worked out just yet. “Until everything is in black and white, on paper, we’re going to be a bit reserved because it could be $100 this year and $20,000 next year,” according to the owner, Stella Roberts.