Greg Wright, the author of Peter Jackson in Perspective: The Power Behind Cinema's The Lord of the Rings, has just penned an intriguing essay for TheOneRing.net. Let me quote the most salient paragraph in full: "The smart money is on Jackson making both The Hobbit and the other planned film, and making them with New Line. Will that take place on Shaye's watch? Maybe not. But since New Line has corporate masters who may be even more demanding than Shaye, that may just mean bad news for Shaye -- and good news for Tolkien film fans."
The rest of Wright's essay presents a number of points for why Peter Jackson will ultimately prevail over Bob Shaye in this battle of the titans, not the least of which is that The Hobbit is not easy material for just anyone to pick up. It's an "allegorical bildungsroman" that needs the steady hand of someone who clearly understands how to translate Tolkien for modern day, action-crazy audiences. Wright also speculates that Jackson is secretly biding his time until rights to The Hobbit fall back to Saul Zaentz, who claims that he is more than ready to pay Jackson a fair price for his work.
There are only two paths forward, Wright says: one that leaves Jackson's work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy behind and re-imagines a "Curious George version of Middle-earth" aimed squarely at the kids. The other path is one that moves forward with Jackson and all the groundwork he has laid -- one that integrates The Hobbit into the Peter Jackson universe and presumably has a place for the beloved actors from the original Rings trilogy. "Box office potential almost dictates the wisdom of the latter choice," Wright says. No kidding.