Before there was the Lord of the Rings, there was The Hobbit, Tolkien’s story of Bilbo Baggins and his journey with the dwarves to fight the dragon and find the ring. Yes, that ring. The celluloid trilogy, staring the ruggedly handsome Viggo Mortensen, culminated in The Return of the King back in 2003. Rumors about The Hobbit getting made have been circulating ever since.
And then the whispers came to a head early this week when Guillermo del Toro, writer and director of the spellbinding, Pan’s Labyrinth announced that he was pulling out of the film. Set to be released sometime in 2012 (once again as a series although I’m unsure whether Peter Jackson plans to do The Hobbit films in 3 installments or just two), del Toro reported that he cannot commit to directing for 6 years in New Zealand, but that he will stay on as a writer. I don’t blame him. This movie has been put off and pushed back for 7 years now. Who’s to say it won’t take another 7 and then where will he be? With 14 years gone and another 6 still ahead of him while he films in New Zealand.
As much as I regret that del Toro will not be the director of one of my favorite childhood adventures, I understand his reluctance in committing anymore of his time to this Herculean endeavor. Maybe we’ll get to see the fruits of all these efforts in 2012, maybe we won’t. In the meantime, we’ll just have to be happy with the next Twilight movie hitting theaters this month and part 1 of Harry Potter’s The Deathly Hallows in November. I can live with that.