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Ever since it was announced that New Line, MGM, and Peter Jackson had reached an accord, everyone has been interested in The Hobbit movies. Even without Jackson directing the new films, just his involvement is exciting enough to make everyone believe the movies will maintain the quality of Jackson’s trilogy. Now it looks as if the list of potential directors has shortened significantly.

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that director Guillermo Del Toro is currently in talks to direct both Hobbit movies, back-to-back. Del Toro has built up a decent sized fanbase as well as proved his own visual style with movies like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth, and certainly could be up to the task of continuing the story of Middle Earth on film.

Because of the writer’s strike, there are currently no writers in place to pen the two films, although it’s assumed that both Jackson and del Toro would oversee the process, ensuring a high quality project. Even though Jackson seems to be too busy to write, I’m hoping his partner Fran Walsh will still be involved in some capacity beyond just producer. It would be nice to have one of the original scribes involved for these new movies.

Del Toro has talked about a lot of dream projects lately, leading many to believe The Hobbit wasn’t really a possibility for the director who seemed to be interested in everything but Tolkien’s world. There’s no telling if that was a smoke screen or if del Toro will be pushing back other plans in order to create The Hobbit, but the news that he may be helming the pictures is definitely exciting and a good move for the franchise.