Now that Spider-Man 4 has come to an end and the rumors have finally seized for that franchise… oh wait, they’re rebooting the rumor mill too. Well, at least now that Tobey Maguire is done with Sony Pictures’ franchise so he won’t be bothered with rumors about who the villain will be and whether or not it will be delayed. Also wrong; He’s swirling in rumors for the lead role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit (again).

Let’s take this story back to the beginning to find out what’s going on here. A month ago, pre-Spider-Man 4 (confirmed) fail, our trusted friends at Latino Review uncovered that Tobey Maguire was having/had meeting(s) with the producers of The Hobbit. Again, these were just meetings but they were able to confirm that Spider-Man 4 & 5 were not filming back-to-back – which we knew already with James Vanderbilt working on interconnected reboot scripts for Spider-Man 5 & 6. Anyway, there would therefore be an opening in Maguire’s schedule in the summer after filming Spidey’s fourth adventure with Sam Raimi.

This was quickly followed up with denial from Tobey who claimed he had never met with them or talked about the project. At this point, we sadly cannot believe what’s being said by him because of the nature of the business. Since then, we’ve seen an end to Maguire’s web-slinging days so he’s really got time for some Middle-earth adventuring now.

Fast forward to today and John Campea of AMC Entertainment tweeted that his inside source revealed that Maguire is a lock for the role, thus confirming what Latino Review’s El Mayimbe broke before the holidays. Both of these dudes don’t mess around.

“I have been personally told by a source very close to Guillermo del Toro that it’s true… Tobey Maguire IS The Hobbit.”

Hmmm…

Wait wait, we’re not done! Later today, AICN and Lord of the Rings fan site TheOneRing.net both came out firing back against this rumor.

TheOneRing.net received the following short and to-the-point message from Guillermo del Toro:

Not true.

G

Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News fame, who also knows Peter and Guillermo personally, sent them both an e-mail on this and got the following responses:

No truth at all, although we’re all big fans of Toby. We are currently auditioning for Bilbo, and a month or two away from any announcements.

Cheers

Peter J

And from Guillermo again;

Its not true, gordito-

G

This is an instant replay from what we saw with Spider-Man 4 – except with different players – and we all know how that ended. This rumor didn’t come out of anywhere and folks connected broke the initial reports. There’s no doubt there’s been inside talk and meetings for Tobey putting on some hairy feet; the question is whether or not that led anywhere and where they are at in the casting process now. Things haven’t gone smoothly for the project because MGM’s financial woes, so technically, the project is not greenlit and casting comes after their scripts and budgets are accepted/confirmed. That being said, in this case, The Hobbit will happen no matter what.

Expect some more confirmations (and denials) on this soon.

The lesson here, re-iterated yet again, is that everyone hides the truth because it’s a business. For more on that aspect of the industry, public relations and the beginnings of the Tobey-Hobbit connection, check out this great piece by Drew McWeeny at his site, HitFix.

If Tobey is in talks for the title role in Peter Jackson’s and Guillermo del Toro’s two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, perhaps nothing can be said until it is finalized. Or, perhaps he’s just one of several candidates auditioning. Hell, he might not be involved at all if they find someone else or if production doesn’t come together as planned.

Let’s just wait till we hear more because no matter what anyone says and who their “sources” may be, there will always be those arguing against until it’s official (case-in-point: what was formally known as Spider-M4N).

Sources: Latino Review, IESB, AICN, El Mayimbe, John Campea, TheOneRing.net