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Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro has OFFICIALLY signed on to direct The Hobbit and it’s sequel. The Hobbit sequel, which is currently untitled will deal with the 60-year period between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will executive produce the project which will be co-financed by New Line Cinema and MGM, with Warner Brothers distributing domestically and MGM distributing internationally. del Toro will have to move to New Zealand for the next four years to work with Jackson and WETA on the back-to-back film projects. Del Toro won’t leave for New Zealand until later this year as he’s still doing post-production work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which will hit theaters in July. If the production begins next year, The Hobbit and it’s sequel could hit theaters in late 2011 and 2012.

I’m extremely excited to see what del Toro will be able to bring to the Lord of the Rings universe. No screenplay has been set for the epic prequel, but it is expected that the Lord of the Rigns scripting team of Jackson, Walsh and Philippa Boyens will work on the two screenplays in collaboration with Del Toro. I hope he Guillermo given a chance to make the project his own. At the same time I am disappointed that this will cannibalize Guillermo for the next four years, as I know he has so many great films in him itching to come out.

Discuss: What do you think now that it is official that Guillermo del Toro will be directing The Hobbit?

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