CRAP! has net has announced that Guillermo del Toro has pulled out of The Hobbit!!

Guillermo Del Toro has left Hobbiton!“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life”, says Guillermo. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wlsh the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director”.

I don’t know if you were paying attention, but last week there were a bunch of drama surrounding whether The Hobbit has been greenlit or not, whether it was going to be in 3D or not. It now seems like it’s going to be living in Production Development Hell for a while longer even though  Warner Bros. has scheduled the first movie for release in December 2012.

It’s really unfortunate that del Toro couldn’t hold out any longer, and I can’t blame him. The financial clusterfuck at MGM must be driving everyone crazy. At least he’s still working on the script.

The question becomes, who does Peter Jackson get to direct the movie? Is he going to do it himself? Is there another director out there who can carry such a content heavy, visually stylized movie?

UPDATE: EW is reporting the Peter Jackson is not able to direct due to other commitments:

So who could take Del Toro’s place? Not Jackson. “As for Peter directing,” writes Kamins from New Zealand, “that’s not something he can consider at this time as he has other commitments to other projects. But make no mistake, Peter and Fran’s commitment to the franchise is total and will do everything necessary to protect the films and the investment made by New Line, [parent company] Warner Bros. and MGM.”