Peter Jackson in negotiations for 'The Hobbit'

Almost one month after Guillermo del Toro dropped out of directing The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is in talks to helm the two films in the franchise, according to the Hollywood Reporter. While we wait for the studios involved or Jackson's manager to confirm, there are lots of questions that remain before The Hobbit can actually begin production, let alone reach the big screen.

First, MGM, the debt-laden studio that owns 50 percent of the rights to the classic tale, is facing an uncertain future. The studio failed to attract bids high enough to satisfy its creditors during an auction earlier this year, and the latest plan may see Spyglass Entertainment running the studio in a prepackaged bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal. Talks are continuing and no decision has yet been made, though it needs to be before the studio's debt waiver expires in mid-July. It's unclear whether production could actually proceed if there's a chance that those rights could wind up in bankruptcy court along with the rest of MGM's assets. (It's the same reason why the Bond franchise is tied up since MGM owns half of those rights, too.)

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