Guillermo del Toro Talks Leaving The Hobbit; Might Direct 'Oz' Prequel

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you'll already be aware that Guillermo del Toro is not directing The Hobbit, the upcoming two-part adaptation of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien book. This was a crushing disappointment for a lot of fans, who want to see The Hobbit brought to life the right way.

Del Toro made a huge commitment to The Hobbit, even going so far as to move himself and his family to New Zealand where the project is to be filmed. Del Toro put out an official statement when the news of his departure broke, proclaiming his respect for the production and the other folks involved. Around the same time we heard word that just one of the many complex reasons he left the project was because he didn't feel he could commit six years to it when his initial commitment was just three.

If you're curious to hear more from del Toro himself about leaving The Hobbit then you're in luck, as just yesterday the director himself left a new message at Here's his message in full:

"So, here I am again. As promised, I am posting a longer message before the week's end.

I have to thank those of you that have supported me from the start as well as those that converted along the way. And even say farewell to those that never did convert or believed.

I will miss Mr. Crere, the faith of Compa and Sir DennisC, the wisdom of Voronwe, the joy of Grammaboodawg, the support of Kangi Ska and so many, many others

Now, Pasi, et al- that is what is quite uncommon even on big films. Pete and co stuck to LOTR for years, I've developed films for years and I have shot many a movie on location... but rarely do you relocate for such massive amount of time specially when you have to do major ironclad agreements to put in deep freeze other contractual obligations with multiple studios.

My commitment to the project demanded enormous sacrifices both in personal and professional terms. The consequences of which will ripple for years. I relocated my entire life and family to New Zealand and first came on board in 2008.

So- while the cited delays, contractual complexities or obstacles, cannot be attributed to a single event or entity - you will simply have to believe that they were of sufficient complexity and severity to lead to the current situation. Trust me on this, Pasi- leaving NZ and the Hobbit crew is extremely painful.

As stated before- a wealth of designs, animatics, boards and sculptures is left behind representing accurately my ideas for Mirkwood, Spiders, Wargs, Stone Trolls, etc, etc and everyone (PJ, FW, PB and myself) has the same goal in mind: to try and ensure the best possible transition of the movie to a new director.

I believe these films will happen. Preproduction continues as we speak. The writing team of PJ,FW,PB and myself will keep moving the screenplays forward.

Perhaps even sooner than we may anticipate we will all look at the finished film and then- I will tear up whenever I recognize a set or a creature or a quirk created under my supervision. Everyone on these boards will get two movies. Me? I will be watching filmic family albums. Photos of my children from far away.

I hope you will understand how delicate the subject is for me.

I will drop by now and then, I will read the boards with interest and do hope to see some of you around at SDCC and many other places.

I am not here, however, to provide a blow-by-blow of what happened, but to assure you, as I have, that it has been the toughest situation of my life.

Beyond that- I am simply no longer an official voice for these projects. Be good, be well- and I invite you all to follow me into the next phase of my filmmaking journey.



Although I'm sad to see del Toro leave The Hobbit as director, I can totally understand why he would do it with all the delays and uncertainty around the project, not to mention the fact that he has a million and one other things on his slate. I guess we have to put his departure behind us and look forward to a different director bringing Middle Earth to life once more. Peter Jackson says he'll direct if need be (and if he's available) and our own Kofi Outlaw made a very good case for Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) to direct, which you should check out if you haven't already.

A silver lining to del Toro leaving The Hobbit (although thankfully he'll continue to polish his co-written script) is the fact that it leaves a lot of time and opportunity for him to pursue other projects. We previously reported that his schedule will keep him busy until 2017(!),  and adding to that list is a Wizard of Oz prequel entitled The Great and Powerful Oz. Deadline reports the rumor that del Toro might direct the Oz prequel, joining other rumored directors like Sam Mendes (American Beauty), Adam Shankman (Hairspray) and the recently reported Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted).

[caption id="attachment_63446" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Guillermo del Toro to visit the land of Oz?"][/caption]

I have to say the idea of del Toro directing the Oz prequel is a very appealing one. Like The Hobbit, his style of filmmaking would be very suited to the land of Oz, particularly since it sounds like the prequel is going a darker route. Here's the plot for The Great and Powerful Oz, so that you can judge del Toro's suitability or yourself:

Based on one of the many Frank Baum books, and a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, but told from the wizard’s point of view when he first enters Oz, 50 years before Dorothy. The Wizard is a young womanizing con artist who arrives in the land of Oz accidentally, and is mistaken to be a Wizard, playing along hoping to reap the riches of Oz, only to be thrown into a civil war of a royal family of three young women who later become the witches – 2 evil and 1 good.

Just to reiterate - Del Toro directing the Oz prequel is just a RUMOR at this point, but it's something to keep an eye on, nonetheless. Would you like to see del Toro direct The Great and Powerful Oz? What do you think of his words about leaving The Hobbit?

At this point we're not sure when The Hobbit will be released in theaters. However, if all goes to plan, Part 1 will come out in December, 2012, with Part 2 following a year later in December, 2013. Stay tuned to Screen Rant to find out who will direct.

Follow us on Twitter: @screenrant

Sources: The One and Deadline (via The Playlist)

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