Yahoo Movies reports:

Hollywood director Guillermo del Toro said Monday that production delays have forced him to quit the planned film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” a two-part prequel to New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson’s blockbuster trilogy “Lord of the Rings.”

“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,” del Toro told a “Lord of the Rings” fan website.

“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,” he said, noting the film still hadn’t been given the green light by MGM, the struggling Hollywood studio…

(Peter) Jackson told “We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave The Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone’s control, has compromised his commitment to other long term projects.

“The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years. Guillermo is one of the most remarkable creative spirits I’ve ever encountered and it has been a complete joy working with him.”

He would discuss options for a new director with MGM this week, Jackson told the website.

I’m hoping that Jackson himself who did such a great job with the Lord of the Rings movies will step in and direct the movies himself. That would be best.

And in the meantime we always have that drug induced and weird “The Hobbit” made in the 70’s. I’m hoping Jackson makes “The Hobbit” just so I can get the nightmares over with from that debacle of a cartoon no child should’ve been forced to watch.