Today we have a pair of updates for the eagerly anticipated additions to the Middle Earth film franchise: The Hobbit (parts 1 and 2). Guillermo del Toro spoke this week about casting the lead character, Bilbo Baggins and about the hot topic of the “bridge” film that would tie this movies into Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

It appears that MTV has a strong relationship with Guillermo del Toro as they seemingly talk with him every week or two about his upcoming projects. Some key news items that broke this way over the months include back in January where Dominic Monaghan and Viggo Mortensen spoke about The Hobbit films and both showed interest in making returns to the franchise if there were some opportunity to do so. Dominic also went as far as to say that the filmmakers want them back and that it’s a strong possibility.

Months later, Jackson and del Toro confirmed that The Hobbit would be spread over two separate films and that when it’s all said and done, you could sit down and watch all the films together as a well-flowing pentology. They were working out the script with the team and things were looking good.

Fast forward to now and we have two new updates from the last two days. The first is that del Toro is very close to announcing who will be playing the lead in the movies. Awesome, right? Back at the Sundance film festival in January, he had revealed there were four candidates at that time and now he has apparently narrowed that down to just one and we can expect the announcement soon.

Some rumors online for the role include James McAvoy and Ewan McGregor. I think either would work and I like the idea of McAvoy as a hobbit.

Continue to Page 2 for more news on The Hobbit

In addition to knowing they’ve made their selection for Bilbo Baggins, yesterday MTV also reported that del Toro is not going to be directing a “bridge film” that would tie The Hobbit movies into the LOTR trilogy. In the interview, del Toro said:

“I’m doing only two movies because I felt that that was the best way to service the book… I’m not saying the other notion was not discussed. We discussed it a large degree. But I felt that for me, the two films were the way to go.”

This isn’t very surprising as there was nothing confirmed on a movie of that sort happening anyway. We only knew for sure that there would be two Hobbit movies.

Pending the success of these films and the interest of the key actors of the LOTR trilogy, I wonder if it is still plausible for them to make another film? The two main issues are that they’d be making an entirely original story that may or may not work well with the established storylines (especially since most characters didn’t meet until The Fellowship of the Ring) and 2) the actors and filmmakers may be too busy to work on it.

Guillermo del Toro has nearly a decade’s worth of projects in planning and Jackson similarly busy for the long term while also intimately involved across several mediums of entertainment.

Following that, the writer/director hinted at where the first film will end in terms of the novel:

“When you read the book, there is only one place to break it really… And everybody knows it. It’s been discussed in forums and there’s a lot of people that are right. That’s where it’s going to break. So it’s very simple.”

Who do you think might be cast as Bilbo and where do you think the first film will conclude?

The first of The Hobbit films is due out in December, 2011 and the second in December, 2012.

Source: MTV