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Shakedown in Middle-earth over 'The Hobbit'

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After years of battles over the film rights, it looks like Peter Jackson won’t be adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit after all. Blame it on a dark force even more powerful than the One Ring: Hollywood contract law. Jackson and better half Fran Walsh announced yesterday that New Line has effectively booted them from the project because of the still-unresolved lawsuit the filmmakers filed seeking profits from the Lord of the Rings trilogy they claim the studio still owes them. Tricksy accountants!

We’ll allow you a moment for wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yes, Jackson would have been the perfect director for the Rings prequel; he probably still has the hobbit village set from LOTR all ready to shoot. But he’s not the only director on (Middle-)earth who could handle the job. I’d love to see what Alfonso Cuarón or Guillermo del Toro could do with the tale. Quick, PopWatchers, now’s your chance to tell the studio who should direct The Hobbit, as well as who should star in it (let’s assume Ian Holm, who played the 111-year-old Bilbo Baggins in LOTR, is too old to play a version of the character who’s 60 years younger.) Let your voice be heard, or else roll the 20-sided dice and take your chances.