This could either be another piece of false news that Guillermo del Toro or Peter Jackson will soon debunk, or a pretty major downer for us fans: Hot on the heels of Jackson revealing a few days ago that The Hobbit will start filming in summer 2010 – putting it on course for Part 1’s already-planned release of December 2011 – word comes that the adaptation will be delayed a full year, not hitting screens until 2012.

The rumor (as we’re treating it until it’s confirmed otherwise) comes from TheWrap’s column WaxWord, which claims that executives close to Warner Bros. are saying that the studio is likely not going to release Part 1 of The Hobbit until 2012, with Part 2 logically being delayed until 2013.  An unnamed executive told WaxWord that, “While it is still possible that it could come out in December 2011, it looks more likely to be 2012.”

Strangely, there’s no detailed information on a possible Hobbit delay, which could either mean that there’s no credence to the rumor or that the news is simply leaking early. Let’s just assume for a second that the news is true and us fans have to face another full year before we see J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit on the big-screen – what could be the reason?

Well, I can’t see it being the shooting schedule, since the summer 2010 production start that Jackson let us know about recently allows for well over a year of shooting before Part 1 needs to go into post-production. It’s been said that director Guillermo del Toro and producer Peter Jackson want to shoot for more than 370 days total, but that includes both part’s 1 and 2. All the needed footage will be in the can well before the previously-planned December 2011 release for Part 1. So what’s the problem?

Perhaps they want to have another year of time to make sure this thing gets handled right, from pre-production to shooting to post-production and beyond, the latter being where the huge marketing push will take place (make no mistake about it, you won’t be able to turn around without seeing a Hobbit ad). Still, taking those into account, a year does seem a bit excessive to delay one of the most highly-anticipated films in the works.

Taking this “news” at face value (that there WILL be a delay on The Hobbit), what do you think could be a reason for it? Do you think they want more time to work everything out? Is a year too long? And just generally, on a scale of 1-10, how irritated would you be if the film was to be delayed for that long?

The Hobbit‘s release date has no be thrown into doubt – up until this point, Part 1 has been set for a December 2011 release, with Part 2 following a year later in December 2012. However, as stated, until this news gets proven otherwise, it may be delayed a year later for each part.

Sources: TheWrap (WaxWord) and ComingSoon