In the wake of Guillermo Del Toro’s departure from The Hobbit, producer Peter Jackson offered to step into the director’s chair if need be, in order to “protect Warner Bros’ investment.” However, he reminded fans that he had projects set up at other studios and that he might not be able to get out of those contracts so easily.
del Toro’s exit was only the latest in a series of setbacks that The Hobbit has faced. Naturally, MGM and WB began to consider other directors, and although several names have come up, they’re apparently keeping their fingers crossed that Jackson will decide to return - and when you hear the other names of the potential replacement directors, you might feel the same way.
According to Deadline, David Yates (the most recent Harry Potter films), David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus) and… wait for it… Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour series, X-Men: The Last Stand) have all shown some level of interest in getting The Hobbit job. Until Jackson explicitly refuses though, no deals are going to be made.
There really wasn’t a better choice for The Hobbit films than del Toro. That ship has sailed though, and while it’s always going to be difficult to reconcile what might have been, the issue now is who’s best qualified to fill his shoes. Our own Kofi Outlaw made a compelling argument for why Alfonso Cuarón should take the reigns. Like del Toro, Cuarón seems like a filmmaker capable of keeping these films consistent with the tone of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy while still putting his own unique spin on it.
I’m not as confident with the three names listed above. Personally, I don’t think any of them should be allowed anywhere near The Hobbit. Frankly, I can't believe Ratner's name has even come up. I realize he was in a similar situation when he took over directing duties on X-Men: The Last Stand, but it's not like the end result was anything awe-inspiring. Hopefully his "edgy" Snow White project keeps him busy and far, far away from this.
The challenge with finding someone of del Toro or Cuarón’s caliber is that so much creative groundwork for these films has already been laid. There might not be a lot of room left for someone else to bring their own voice to the material at this point. Another possible point of contention is how much money is left to offer a new director. Jackson, the Tolkien estate, producer Saul Zaentz, and Harvey Weinstein are already involved as gross participants, which leaves very little leftover for anyone else. That might make it particularly tricky if they decide to try and woo a big name director.
If they’re sticking with the names already mentioned though, I don’t think I’m alone in declaring that Jackson should direct The Hobbit himself. Not only has he been with the project from the beginning, there’s also no one else who better understands what del Toro wanted to accomplish with these films.
The only possible downside I see is that Jackson never seemed that passionate about directing these films. It’s not a situation where he’s dying to do it. He’d be stepping in to protect the money that’s already been spent and because a better option never presented itself. Considering that one of del Toro’s reasons for leaving the project was how much time would be required of him, is it even realistic to assume Jackson would pass on several other films he’s become invested in just to make The Hobbit?
What do you guys think? Are you hoping Peter Jackson ultimately decides to direct The Hobbit himself? If not him, who else would you want to see do it?