This article provides a nice roundup of a bit of information that, somehow eluded me for nearly a month. Namely, that New Line and Peter Jackson are not playing nice and that one or more future movies set in Middle-earth will not involve Jackson as director. Here is the open letter from Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh about there rift with Newline over the accounting on the Lord of the Rings films and how it has basically led to New Line telling Peter Jackson to fuck off, in regards to any future projects.
I for one really want the Hobbit to be made, but I would rather have it not made than done poorly. Sorry but I just don’t see Sam Raimi doing this and god forbid, Lucas should get to ruin yet another fantasy saga. Some have speculated that they may cut this story into two parts and then add an additional prequel to make for a second trilogy – a path I would love to see taken, if Jackson were at the helm. My desire would be for Jackson and Newline (and MGM) to understand that there is more than $1 billion to be made, resolve their differences, and get going on these projects while Sir Ian McKellan can still hold up his, ahem, staff.