Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythical works were dealt a serious blow last week when filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro announced his departure from the director's chair on The Hobbit. It was sudden, unexpected, like pulling off a band-aid without a courtesy warning — though, in Del Toro's defense, the troubles surrounding The Hobbit weren't exactly hard to see. But the director apparently recognizes that his reasons for leaving Middle-Earth aren't clear to some, prompting him to provide one last letter of explanation.
Describing the subject as "delicate" and the decision to leave as "the toughest situation of my life," Del Toro revealed of his experience in an open letter to The One Ring:
My commitment to the project demanded enormous sacrifices both in personal and professional terms. The consequences of which will ripple for years. I relocated my entire life and family to New Zealand and first came on board in 2008.
So- while the cited delays, contractual complexities or obstacles, cannot be attributed to a single event or entity - you will simply have to believe that they were of sufficient complexity and severity to lead to the current situation. Trust me on this, Pasi- leaving NZ and the Hobbit crew is extremely painful.
As stated before- a wealth of designs, animatics, boards and sculptures is left behind representing accurately my ideas for Mirkwood, Spiders, Wargs, Stone Trolls, etc, etc and everyone (PJ, FW, PB and myself) has the same goal in mind: to try and ensure the best possible transition of the movie to a new director.
I believe these films will happen. Preproduction continues as we speak. The writing team of PJ,FW,PB and myself will keep moving the screenplays forward.
Perhaps even sooner than we may anticipate we will all look at the finished film and then- I will tear up whenever I recognize a set or a creature or a quirk created under my supervision. Everyone on these boards will get two movies. Me? I will be watching filmic family albums. Photos of my children from far away.
Del Toro, who will attend this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, closed the letter by inviting his fans to follow him "into the next phase of my filmmaking journey."
Source: The One Ring