Officially Announced: Guillermo del Toro is Off of The Hobbit!
Holy crap this is big. It was announced by Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro today on TheOneRing that del Toro will no longer direct The Hobbit, but will still co-write the screenplays. "Out of respect to the legions of loyal Tolkien fans," they broke the news on the site and will make sure "the films are everything that the fans want them to be." Del Toro: "In light of ongoing delays... 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."
This is so sad to hear and means a lot more about the project's delay, which has been stalled since MGM went bankrupt last year and on hold until they find someone to re-finance the entire company. As for the future of The Hobbit, we're not sure what to expect. "We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave The Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone's control, has compromised his commitment to other long-term projects," Jackson said. It sounds like there's a very interesting story behind this and maybe we'll find out more in the coming months about what happened, such as if GDT is announced as a director on another different film.
According to TheOneRing.net, The Hobbit is still planned to be adapted into two movies, one to be released in December 2012 & the other in December 2013. So as far as they know, it's still on, but no mention of who's taking his place instead. "The blessings have been plenty, but conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated," said del Toro. "Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish 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." Thoughts?