New Line, MGM and Peter Jackson are finally joining forces to adapt J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy! Though it was obvious Peter Jackson and co. would have been the right people to do the material justice, a lawsuit Jackson filed against New Line for money owed two years ago threatened to stop that from ever happening. It is likely that personal feelings were cast aside after New Line's latest attempt to start a new franchise out of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass proved to be less than stellar at the box office. Despite this most welcomed development, there is no firm indication that Jackson would direct the two-parter prequel. He's only mentioned as executive producer. Personally, it defeats the purpose of all the drama and uproar and petitions to get his involvement, only to have him sit on the sidelines as producer. It's his directorial knack for creating Middle Earth that got people all stoked, and having just his name appearing in the credits somewhere won't be enough. At least LOTR effects house WETA and maybe LOTR composer Howard Shore (another strained relationship when Jackson fired him from King Kong) will be back to keep the LOTR ambience consistent.
Sam Raimi has expressed interest in directing The Hobbit before, while people are suggesting directors like Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Terry Gilliam in the comment sections of other sites if Jackson is truly not back on the director's seat. Cuaron's an interesting idea, though, but I'm for Jackson all the way, because it makes sense, not because I'm a raving PJ fanboy. Honest.