So, it's official. Jackson, New Line, MGM, and Del Toro have come to an agreement and signed contracts to do two new Middle-earth movies: one based on THE HOBBIT and the other to fill the gap between THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS (assembled from bits and pieces in the various Appendices, I assume). Must say I'm disappointed it isn't a two-part film of just THE HOBBIT itself -- but then as the author of a two-part book on THE HOBBIT I'm probably prejudiced in thinking there's plenty of story there for two movies.
Here's the initial link; thanks to Yvette for forwarding it:
And for more news, here's the ever-informative Kristen Thompson's post on the subject:
The next thing to watch will be which of the folks who made Jackson's trilogy of films based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS will be returning to work both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras in the next film. And, of course, what new talent signs on to take the major roles of Bilbo (assuming Ian Holm, alas, gives it a pass) and Thorin & Company.