Guillermo del Toro, man at the helm of films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Devil’s Backbone and Blade II, has quit as director of The Hobbit, the planned two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings.
Whilst calling it “the hardest decision” of his life, Del Toro simply couldn’t take the extended and continued delays in filming any longer as it impacted on his other commitments. The Hobbit was supposed to be a 3 year commitment but it’s now looking like it will be 6 years or more. Most of the delays stem from the financial struggles of studio MGM, which is co-distributing the film with New Line.
I was initially disappointed when I heard that Peter Jackson was not going to be directing The Hobbit films. He had done such a fantastic job on LOTR that we all expected him to return to continue the legacy. However, when I found out that Del Toro was taking over, it made me even more excited. Del Toro’s incredible vision and creepy style has impressed me more than any other director in recent memory, and I thought his presence would shift the franchise in a fresh and exciting direction and turn Middle-Earth into an even stranger and unsettling place.
But with Del Toro gone, now what? Is The Hobbit destined to suck, or will it simply never be made at all?
Jackson has reiterated that he will not be directing the films, even though he will continue to work on the script and try and facilitate a smooth transition to a new director.
I just don’t know who they can get with such short notice and the films being such a major commitment. I’m sure plenty of lesser known and less capable directors will be lining up to prove their mettle, but if they pick someone bland and unoriginal who isn’t going to do the films justice, it will just be a complete waste of everybody’s time. LOTR has built up such an incredible level of expectation that The Hobbit simply can’t be anything but amazing.