The producer and director for the upcoming Hobbit movie and its sequel, geniuses Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, held a Q&A chat session about the films, and the transcript is now online. It's still very early days yet - they haven't even started writing the script - but so far I like everything I'm hearing. Most of the creative team are back, and with del Toro taking the Captain's chair there should be enough new creative input coming in to make this fresh while still having a sense of being part of the same universe in which LOTR took place.
I also think Guillermo is the perfect replacement for Jackson; if anything his relatively more intimate horror themed films seem quite close to the style needed for much of the Hobbit, making him a more apt choice than even Jackson himself. As for the sequel, that would depend on what it's about - apparently they'll pick events in the 60 year gap between the two stories. Still, I'm confident Guillermo will deliver the goods no matter what the second film is about.
This chat transcript reminds me of the original Q&A Jackson did way back in 2000 (as I recall), which is when a lot of people thought LOTR could be something special. This has the same vibe, and they're saying all the right things. Plus, this time they have a proven track record. These guys ain't no George Lucas!
It's going to be a long wait though - the first film is tentatively scheduled for 2011, exactly a decade after Fellowship of the Ring came out. I'll have to make some offerings to Cthulu to make sure that I don't get hit by a meteor, run over by a bus, fall down a manhole, be visited by a succubus, or have some other tragedy befall me during the next few years!