It was only this past Friday when learned that the Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit was stuck in preproduction limbo because of the disintegration of MGM, which holds some of the rights to the project. But all indications were that director Guillermo Del Toro was ready to go ahead as soon as the green light was received. As he said as a press conference (via ComingSoon.net):
We have designed all the creatures. We’ve designed the sets and the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned battles sequences…. We are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered.
But then on Sunday came more news: Del Toro was stepping down as director (though he would continue to work on the scripts). In a statement to TheOneRing.net, Del Toro said:
In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wlsh the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director.
So now we’re left with a major question: Now that Guillermo Del Toro has departed from the project, who should direct The Hobbit?
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