We've been enjoying rumors about The Hobbit for about two years now with no signs of letting up. We've heard it all -- from who is or isn't cast as Bilbo Baggins or Smaug, to whether it'll be in 3D, and if it'll be two films of purely Hobbit-drawn material or if it'll delve into the Tolkien appendices, it goes on and and on. And that's not even counting the year or so that Peter Jackson was out of favor with New Line. It's enough to make you climb into a hobbit hole and have your second breakfast.

Now Variety reports that despite the assurances of Guillermo Del Toro and Jackson, The Hobbit release may actually be delayed from December 2011 to late 2012, as previously reported. While discussing Warner Bros' plans for New Line, WB studio leader Alan Horn is predicting that The Hobbit will be released in "the fourth quarter of 2012," though he declined to give any further details.

While Jackson assures everyone the project is on track, I find it hard to believe they can make that 2011 release date, even if they are holding open casting calls. As of last month, MGM still hadn't officially green-lit the film, and they were still on the second draft of the script. I'm not going to lose faith that we'll have an 2011 trip to Middle Earth -- but I'm not going to hold my breath, either. Remember, it was originally given a release date of 2010!