The idea of 'The Hobbit' being directed by anyone other than Peter Jackson sounded crazy after his resounding success with 'The Lord of the Rings', but word is that master fantastician Guillermo Del Toro (of The Devil's Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy, and Pan's Labyrinth fame) is set to helm Tolkien's first Middle Earth adventure as well as another film that bridges the gap between it and 'Rings'. That second film sounds a bit iffy, but with Jackson still a producer and involved creatively (as well as his cohorts Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh) and the Weta team in New Zealand doing their magic, I am ecstatic. 'Rings' was one of the best film experiences ever, and to have more from Middle Earth directed by an equally assured (but unique and different) hand... well, that's as good as the news could get.
Now I hope Del Toro is confirmed and that this project pans out. No pun intended.