Keith Staskiewicz
June 26, 2010 AT 05:56 PM EDT

Image Credit: Don Arnold/WireImage.comLet’s face it, Guillermo del Toro was a perfect choice to direct The Hobbit. Boundlessly creative and visually distinctive, del Toro would have been able to give the Lord of the Rings prequel a different tone from the epic triptych, while remaining true to its spirit. But it was just not to be. He left the project two years into a five-year sentence, and the best thing for us to do was to move on and not cry over spilt mead. And now, news that producer Peter Jackson is in negotiations to return to Middle Earth and direct the two-part film himself makes me think there’s no reason to cry after all.

When they say that he’s “in talks,” I can really only picture Jackson alone in a conference room, occasionally switching chairs, an argument brewing between his director-self and producer-self over remuneration and percentage of profits. Personally, I hope the two of them come to an agreement soon, because it would absolutely be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Producer Jackson gets one of the best fantasy directors around, one not only with an intimate knowledge of the LOTR universe but also of this particular production, and Director Jackson gets a chance to return to his Academy Award-sweeping roots after the hiccup that was The Lovely Bones. Everybody wins.

Including the audience. With Jackson replacing del Toro, and not some unknown interloper, we at least have a sense of what to expect. There’s no slinking fear that the final product might end up something like this. The real question is how much of del Toro’s two years of design and pre-production work Jackson will incorporate into his Hobbit, should he take the job. It would be fascinating to see a melding of these two different styles of fantasy film-making: Del Toro’s bulbous, inventive menagerie inhabiting Jackson’s epic, sweeping vistas.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Excited at the prospect of Jackson retaking the reins? Is there anyone out there who actually thinks that this isn’t great news?

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