And in the end, we all get what we wanted in the first place.

Warner Bros. has officially confirmed that the greenlight has been given for Peter Jackson to direct two "Hobbit" films article with production set to start in February 2011.

In an official press release, Jackson says, "Exploring Tolkien's Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience."  I'd say that's an understatement.  Maybe we've forgotten a bit at this end of the decade just how unreal the entire proposition sounded when we first heard about Jackson's plans for "Lord Of The Rings," and yet by the time he was finished, there was little argument that he had accomplished one of the singular feats in fantasy filmmaking.

Over the last year, the drama surrounding the making of "The Hobbit" has threatened to overwhelm any conversation about the film itself, and when Guillermo Del Toro left the film earlier this year, it looked like the film was further away from happening than ever before.  If I was a betting men, I'd probably be losing money today because I felt sure the MGM bankruptcy issues would keep the movie from happening this year at all.  So many films are stuck in the black hole of MGM's money troubles that I didn't have faith this one project would be the exception.

And yet here we are, with Peter Jackson saying, "It's an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty, and drama.  We're looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and MGM."

In the same press release, Warner Bros. President and CEO Alan Horn says, "There is no human being on the planet as qualified as Peter Jackson to direct these films.  Peter is incredibly talented and has the creative vision and experience to bring this beloved property to live in a way that no other filmmaker could.  And the team of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens has proven through their work on the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy that no one is more skilled at transforming Tolkien's written words into a vibrant, living language that makes the audience believe they are not merely visiting Middle-earth but actually living in it."  

Peter's going to be shooting these films in 3D, and he's going to shoot both of them back to back.  Right now, Guillermo's name is still on the screenplay, which I think it exciting.  Adding a new voice into the mix, and then having Peter at the helm to bring things to life, sounds like a combination that will make this feel like the "Lord Of The Rings" we already love but hopefully bring some fresh flavor to the world as well.

New Line and MGM are co-producing the film, while Warner Bros. is handing domestic distribution and MGM will release the film internationally.  I can only imagine all the complicated negotiations that resulted in today's announcement, and I'm guessing the $3 billion that the original trilogy made at the box-office worldwide may have helped make those negotiations happen.

It's an amazing ending to this part of the behind-the-scenes story.  Now comes the fun part as Jackson starts casting and building and pinning down the final details of what is sure to be one of the biggest events of 2012 and 2013.

Now... about Martin Freeman as Bilbo...

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