It’s sad to see that the production of The Hobbit has suffered through so many obstacles, from delays to talent such as Guillermo del Toro dropping out of the project. With the love and success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s bewildering to see its prequels facing such difficulty getting off the ground.

Fortunately, Lord of the Rings mastermind Peter Jackson is still in charge of the project and he promised that Warner Bros. and bankrupt owner MGM are working out a deal and that (good) news about The Hobbit movies would be coming soon. Perhaps that good news puts an official greenlight on the project so it can begin shooting early next year – at least that would explain what Sir Ian McKellen said on Saturday…

According to the man who played Gandalf – and will hopefully do so again – production on The Hobbit movies is set to begin in January.

The quote comes from an off-kilter remark during a chat with The Bolton News about a documentary McKellen is currently shooting. He simply stated, “The aim is to start filming in January.”

Of course this entirely depends on whether or not MGM can secure financing to finally move the project forward. The next steps include the selection of a director and cast. As we heard recently, it’s a good possibility that Peter Jackson, currently executive producer, may again step into the director’s chair.

As for the cast, we can expect McKellen too reprise the fan-favorite role of the lovable wizard Gandalf while the current rumors point towards The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Martin Freeman being in negotiations for the title role.

Hopefully, Gandalf the Grey speaks true and that Peter Jackson will have official news for fans soon about The Hobbit moving forward and them having confirmed a director. We’re coming up on a decade since the The Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters and that’s way too long for The Hobbit to be greenlit.

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Source: The Bolton News (via Coming Soon)