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Peter Jackson Reportedly to Direct The Hobbit; But Can He Top Rankin-Bass?

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The big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit is reportedly close to solving its directing dilemma, with Peter Jackson himself, according to The Hollywood Reporter, in talks to direct the Lord of the Rings prequels.

No, this isn’t a TV story, but the Tolkien books are dear enough to me to make me notice. And to get nervous. Note that Jackson is supposedly making the Hobbit movies, plural. Is there any artistic reason that, having made The Lord of the Rings in three installments, he needs two to make The Hobbit, which I’m not sure is even as big as LOTR’s appendices? There are a billion reasons, I’m sure, each with George Washington’s picture on it.

And supposedly the second movie is intended to be a “bridge” between the actual events of The Hobbit and LOTR, which seems like it could go fifteen kinds of wrong. What’s the dramatic arc of that movie? Gandalf having meetings with Galadriel? Gollum going to Mordor? Bilbo throwing lots of parties and getting fatter without aging? Baby Frodo’s crazy Shire antics with Baby Sam, Merry and Pippin?

Well, I’m hoping we can get at least one good Hobbit movie out of this. Although I have a hard time imagining anything replacing the 1977 Rankin-Bass TV version (above) in my heart.