Earlier this month we reported that although Peter Jackson has mulled stepping in to fill the sizable void left by Guillermo del Toro's departure from The Hobbit, his commitment to the planned Tintin trilogy may yet preclude him from becoming involved beyond co-writing and producing. That was salt in the wound for those of us who were supremely bummed by the loss of del Toro; if we can't have the fantastical Pan's Labyrinth auteur, we can at least have Jackson, right? This is his franchise, after all -- but does Jackson owe anything to his audience?
MGM and Warner Bros. certainly seem to think so. The studios are reportedly still pursuing the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to helm the two-part Hobbit prequel; ambivalence be damned, they apparently still think that they can lock Jackson down for what could be a half-decade commitment. While the studios are considering David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus), or Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand, Rush Hour 3) to helm the project, sources say they are holding out for Jackson before offering any of them the job.
And hold out they should - both David Dobkin and Brett Ratner are almost shockingly unqualified to take the reins of the two-part prequel, part of a franchise that has already grossed around $3 billion worldwide and has some of the genre's most zealous fans. Expectations for The Hobbit are going to be high, and MGM literally can't afford to make a Dobkin/Ratner-sized mistake. Yates, on the other hand, wouldn't be terrible: the British director has plenty of big-budget fantasy experience from the last two Harry Potter films (as well as the upcoming two-part finale), and has been successful while not deviating far from his source material.
But why settle for second best? It's a huge commitment, but I'd love if Jackson just accepted the gig and finished what he started with Lord of the Rings. The man already lives in New Zealand! I assume we'll know pretty soon what Jackson's decision is, since the studios are going to keep pestering him until they get his final answer, so keep checking back at Hollywood.com for the latest.