By Nicole Sperling
Updated July 22, 2010 at 06:56 PM EDT

With Guillermo del Toro set to announce his next project either at Comic-Con or directly following, speculation as to what it will be is running rampant. The Pan’s Labyrinth director, who dropped out of helming The Hobbit movies at the end of May, is scheduled to be in Hall H Friday afternoon for a very long panel introducing the horror film he produced and co-wrote called Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Sure, director Troy Nixey and stars Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce are sure to be fascinating, but why does the panel need to be 90 minutes long? I predict he’ll surprise everyone and announce his upcoming project then. And what will it be?

Well, sources tell me he’s going to direct At the Mountain of Madness, the H.P. Lovecraft short novel that del Toro has long wanted to direct. The movie — a Universal feature — is a very adventurous project, something del Toro had been seeking. Neither the studio nor his reps would comment. For those of you not familiar with it, At the Mountain of Madness is a period piece set in Antarctica about a group of explorers who come across a mysterious race of tentacled monsters. Del Toro has called it “a Shackleton epic exploration movie, but full of tentacled things.” Del Toro wrote the script a few years ago and was hoping to get it into production before The Hobbit. Now that that’s not happening, it seems he’s turned his focus back to this 1931 novella that’s considered the decisive “demythology” of Lovecraft’s original cosmic entity, the Cthulhu.

We’ll see tomorrow if I’m right.