Guillermo del Toro Not Directing ‘The Hobbit’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:13 pm,

Production on the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has been held up by production studio MGM’s financial woes for several months now. The excessive delays have now dealt a hard blow to the project, this time on the artistic front, as director Guillermo del Toro has officially revealed that it’s no longer feasible for him to direct the two-movie project.

The Hellboy director broke the news to exclusively as a gesture of his, and The Hobbit co-screenwriter/executive producer Peter Jackson’s, respect for the Lord of the Rings fanboy community.  Despite recent comments and speculation from LOTR stars Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis, this is in fact the first new, concrete bit of information to come out concerning The Hobbit‘s status in a while.

You can read del Toro’s official statement below:

“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming ‘The Hobbit,’ I am faced with the hardest decision of my life.  After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.  I remain grateful to Peter [Jackson], Fran [Walsh], and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand.  I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed.  The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project.  Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be the first in line to see the finished product.  I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director.”

the hobbit gandalf elrond gollum Guillermo del Toro Not Directing The Hobbit

Peter Jackson additionally announced that although he and his fellow Hobbit crew members were sad to see the filmmaker leave the project, “the bottom line is that Guillermo [del Toro] just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years.”

He went on to refer to del Toro as “one of the most remarkable creative spirits I’ve ever encountered,” and that The Hobbit films “are extremely fortunate to be blessed with his creative DNA.”

Jackson then concluded his statement by revealing that del Toro would continue to do polish work on The Hobbit screenplay for the next several months and that “we [The Hobbit production team] do not anticipate any delay or disruption to ongoing pre-production work” due to del Toro’s departure as director.

Warner Bros and IMAX deal The Hobbit delay Guillermo del Toro Not Directing The Hobbit

As a filmmaker, del Toro has, if nothing else, displayed an immense talent for creative creatures, set, and effects design in films like Pan’s Labyrinth or Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.  Longtime Screen Rant readers might recall that, back in 2008, del Toro’s schedule was announced to be full until 2017, and he’s been hard at work on The Hobbit ever since.

Although many fans, myself included, will definitely be disappointed that del Toro will no longer direct the film as well, it’s understandable that devoting an extra three years of his life to The Hobbit was simply not a feasible option for an already busy man.

The big question now for the film version of The Hobbit is who will be brought on-board to direct in del Toro’s place?

Should Peter Jackson settle down in the director’s chair himself?  Is there another auteur you’d like to see give their take on Middle Earth?  Or perhaps a relatively unknown entity?

We’ll let you know when The Hobbit gets a new director and when production FINALLY gets going on the film as soon as we hear anything new.


TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. Ugh… things are going downhill…

  2. How could this happen? :(

    • Yeah, it sucks.

      At least del Toro has already put a lot of work into the screenplay and developing the look for Smaug for the film. I’d rather he was still helming the project but MGM’s financial mess has really made matters difficult with respect to figuring out when shooting will finally begin on this thing.

      Also- so long as neither Brett Ratner, Joel Schumacher, or Uwe Boll comes onboard to direct, it’ll be difficult for whoever the new director is to really ruin the hard work del Toro, Jackson, and Co. have already put into The Hobbit. ;)

      • Or, y’know, that’s my hope for now.

  3. Awesome. That means we’ll get a new Guillermo Del Toro film in the forseeable future as opposed to sitting there watching The Hobbit get delayed every few months.

  4. I fully understand his position. At what point do you say, this is the line and I go no further. The real question is since Del Toro is leaving, any new director will want to do things there way. Which means starting all over, I don’t think this movie can be made at this point. Only viable option is for Jackson to direct and hope Del Toro can squeeze in a co-directing position. This is tragic!

  5. This is terrible news, first Bond now The Hobbit, MGM has shot themselves in the foot; they had 2 massive franchises that were guaranteed to bring in billions of dollars and now they have nothing with which to dig themselves out of the finacial pit.

    It is a real shame such a visionary director has left a project that desperately needed his creative input.

    I do not think Peter Jackson should take over as director, I have a huge respect for what he achieved on LOTR as a whole, but Return Of The King remains one of my biggest cinematic disappointments for numerous reasons.

    I’m not sure who should take over, in an ideal world I would have said Spielberg but given his schedule that would be quite impossible.

    • The only dissapointing thing about RoTK is the Sam and Frodo scenes, those scenes made them act like..well gay. But all the other scene where awesome.

  6. I wonder if the director will now turn his attention to another hellboy film

    • I would wish so :)

      • He is suppose to be doing that, and I hope he is.

  7. Shame on Warner Brothers. after 3 hit films, 17/30 Oscar wins (11 for return of the king alone, the record) and $2.9 Billion world wide, WB still has the nerve to tell Jackson what he can and cant do. If i were running warner brothers, right after the success of the first 3, i would say “he’s $300 million per movie, do what you do best” and leave it at that.

    all this back and forth has now cause the director to back out, other than Jackson himself, Del Toro was the only person i can see directing this movie. Maybe that guy who did “District 9″ being so close friends with Jackson.

  8. Rofl MJ what u just said reminded me of Patrick Stewart in First Contact which I just watched again last week lol. He says exactly that ” this is the line no further. ” great movie and probably patricks best performance. The scene in his quarters with the chick talking about mobey dick is my face part. Truly a gifted actor.

    Lol back on topic. Peter Jackson is the best choice if not Raimi would be a good option. It would be great to see another hellboy though it’s unlikely I’m sure.

  9. i’m also confused now, is it New Line Cinema, MGM, Fox, or Warner Brothers doing the next movie?

    • I believe MGM holds the property rights to The Hobbit so they have to give the film the green light for production to begin. Hence why their financial woes have held up progress on the project.

      • Then why is Warner Bros getting thrown in or do they own MGM? I cant remember..

        • MGM is the rightful owner of the property rights.
          I think New Line Cinema is stepping in to distribute or something. Warner is of course the owner of New Line (or is it not?)

          It’s the same scheme on how Bond was deal. MGM the property owner and Sony co-produced and distribute

  10. “The line must be drawn Here!”

  11. I’m not suprised. I knew this was doomed when I heard about MGMs problems.

  12. Only way out of this finacial mess is for peter Jackson to direct and hope that del toro co-direct and try and save this from utter failure

  13. I apologize I couldn’t resist. It was futile.

    I will not sacrifice the Enterprise, I have made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. But not again, the line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!

  14. “Jean Luc, just blow up the damn ship!”

    ” No!!!!!!!!!” smashes phaser rifle into all the Enterprise models.

    • LOL

  15. Thanks a lot, MGM. First James Bond gets put on hold, now ‘The Hobbit’ loses its awesome director. *CLAPS HANDS* :(

    • I fear the next thing is “The Hobbit will be delayed indefinitely”

  16. Clearly Jack is gong to step in,
    Dissapointing beyond words.

  17. clearly ,Jackson is going to step in.
    Dissapointing beyond words.

  18. Even though this opens the door to a lot of other directors, I think this is the beginning (or the middle) of the end for the beloved Hobbit franchise. Honestly, who besides Peter Jackson or del Toro, would you want to handle the enormity of this franchise?

    I personally don’t think we’ll see The Hobbit franchise in this decade.

  19. Well, as sad as I am, I’m truly hoping that Peter will now take over the helm of these movies. It’s what I wanted from the start. I trust the holy trinity that brought us LOTR, and I trust them to do a remarkable job with The Hobbit. Now just green-light the damned thing and let’s get on with it!

    • As much as I’d love Jackson to come back and direct it, Del Toro would have brought something fresh, a renewed energy to the franchise.

  20. Ebert said this via his twitter:

    Today: Del Toro is off “The Hobbit.” Last week: Del Toro announced he wouldn’t film it in 3D.

    • Sadly, that may be an actual correlation… but lets hope its not anything other than scheduling, and hopefully Jackson will step in and direct as well.

  21. Jackson needs to pick it up. I realize he wanted Del Toro to bring something unique and new to the franchise, but more of Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth is FAR from a bad thing. If del Toro has already given a great deal of input and design into the movie and the screenplays will be finalized, his touch won’t go unnoticed. STEP UP PETER JACKSON!


  22. More of Peter Jackson’s take on this wonderful mythology is hardly a bad thing, but I don’t think he wanted his name all over it again, which is why this project was given to someone else to helm. I can’t think of anyone else out there who could bring it to life though. Del Toro has such vivid and unique imagination, there was so much to look forward to, his departure is very upsetting to me.

  23. Jackson needs to step in and direct it. period.not to take anything away from Del Toro, but it just would not have been the same.

  24. I think the only solution is to let Jack Shepherd do it.

  25. Dammit!!!!!!!!!!…..Another victim of George W. Bush…..first he screwed our Country, then my family, then my job, then my Wife’s job…..then the WORLD….his evil knows no bounds….now MGM and “The Hobbit.” Thank God Mr. Jackson lives in NZ. Such sad sad news.

    • What the hell are you talking about?!

  26. I’m devestated. I was looking forward to this so much… words cannot express how disappointed I am. Even if Jackson steps in to direct The Hobbit, I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering what might have been. So sad.

  27. Wait a minute… didn’t he express some interest in doing Doctor Strange a while back? And now he’s free for a while… hmm… I guess this cloud just might have a silver lining…

  28. This is sad, hopefully Del Toro can get to work on another creepy drama like “Pan’s Labyrinth” or “Hellboy 3″.

    As for a replacement, its already been announced that Jackson won’t come back, so might I suggest Alfonso Cuaron? (Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men)

  29. Wait a minute… didn’t del Toro express some interest in doing Doctor Strange a while back? And now he’s free for a while… hmm… I guess this cloud just might have a silver lining…

    • Sorry about the double-post, my connection is crapping out on me.