I have a feeling we're in for a lot of this.

Ever since Guillermo Del Toro's dramatic announcement that he was dropping out as director of "The Hobbit," speculation has been running wild about who will step in to replace him.

One school of thought has Peter Jackson eventually giving in to pressure and making the films himself.  I can understand why Jackson wouldn't want to direct "The Hobbit," but I can also understand why anyone involved in financing two "Hobbit" movies would want the guy who directed "The Lord Of The Rings" to be the one calling the shots.

Based on everything I've heard the last few weeks, I don't believe Peter will end up making the movie.  I think they will find someone else, and I think they'll find that someone else sooner rather than later.  I'm still not sure who's actually planning to pay for the film, what with MGM's financial issues and the whole complicated rights issue in the first place.  Still, there seems to be some confidence that they'll get things worked out in time to let someone roll film in January of next year.

But who?

This week, TheOneRing.net reported that Neill Blomkamp's name had started showing up on production breakdowns as the director of the film.  And almost as soon as that story exploded everywhere, The Vulture contacted the people who actually, you know, represent Blomkamp, and they firmly denied the story.

My guess is that Blomkamp wouldn't be interested.  I've heard that he has made it fairly clear to everyone on his team that he doesn't want to make giant studio franchise films.  I think almost-but-not-quite making "Halo" had a profound and positive effect on Blomkamp.  He was forced to make "District 9" outside the system, and he ended up making it his way without compromise, and he got a Best Picture nomination and an unlikely box-office hit as a result.  

He's smart to work with Media Rights Capital on his new sci-fi film, rumored to be an original that isn't based on any source material.  He's looking at an ownership position on this thing, and he's making something personal, something he controls, outside the studio system the same way he made "District 9."  He's got such a great angry original voice that I'd almost hate to see him waste his time bringing someone else's story to life, especially if he's taking visual cues from the work that already exists on "LOTR," meaning he wouldn't really have much to bring to the film.  He'd be a traffic cop.

There's so much misinformation and conflicting information out there about this right now.  My feeling is that MGM lost Del Toro because they weren't ready to make the film, and right now, there's not much more that's going on than that.  They can't make the film.

We're a long way from hearing names for director or cast on this one.  If MGM rushes and makes a decision on this that no one's happy with, they might as well pull the plug on "The Hobbit" now.  There are very few projects that will ever be made that will suffer the level of scrutiny that this will have to endure during production.  Let's hope level heads prevail as they move forward, and that the end results are worth all the sturm und drang so far.

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You can e-mail me at drew@hitfix.com or follow me on Twitter, where I'm DrewAtHitFix.