Rumor: Peter Jackson To Direct New Middle Earth Film, Linking The Hobbit To Rings?

Editor's Note: I want to stress that for now, all of this, is only a rumor. I'd love to see it happen, but I doubt it's actually true.

The scattershot news blast of 3D-crazy blog Marketsaw today brings us some rip-roaring Hobbit gossip, and I can't help but dream it's all true, every last word of it (except for the bit I don't quite 'get', but more on that later). First of all, in a nutshell: Peter Jackson wants Guillermo del Toro's two Hobbit films in 3D, he's planning a third 'bridge' film that he'll direct himself, Smaug is going to be a blend of CG and practical work and has been described as being "darker" than in the book. Now, in detail...

There's every likelihood that Jackson and Del Toro have at least discussed the filming of the Hobbit movies in stereoscopic 3D. According to the Marketsaw scooper "Peter Jackson is very keen to have the two part Hobbit tale set in 3D. Del Toro however is holding back on that school of thought. At least for the time being." Come on, Guillermo!

When we initially had confirmation of the Hobbit film, the plan seemed to be for three films. The first two would adapt the book and the third would bridge this material to Jackson's Rings trilogy. The material for this narrative would apparently be worked up from the appendices that Jackson already had been granted rights to use.

Then, the story changed. There were just going to be two Hobbit films, splitting the novel across them, and no bridge movie. If this new rumour is true and the bridge is back, why might that be? It's likely a mix of Del Toro only wanting to direct only two pictures and Jackson both wanting to use the appendices up and, when the time is right, return to Middle Earth himself. Sounds plausible... right?

The discussion of Smaug is pretty vague and not entirely useful:

Smaug will be a mixture of practical and animation... going purely on practical, the design rocks. I think The Hobbit may be a different beast to the book, at least in terms of going darker. And judging from Smaug and 'the Gollum tweaks' will be something to rival the previous attempts at the very least.

Doesn't mean much to me. Calling a film "dark" never really has. Sounds like a catch-all for various kinds of "cynical and cool in some way that gives me a blush and rising pulse". To say Smaug is darker only really means something if we're talking actual color scheme here, I'd say, and of course we're not.

Anyway, some interesting rumours to chew over and, if Marketsaw's record is anything to go by, fairly likely to come from a strong source. Do you want this bridge? Or does Jackson have better things to do?