Del Toro's stamp will still be on the film, in some way through the production design, which is already underway, and to a much larger degree with the screenplay, which he's been working on with Jackson and co-writer Philipa Boyens. It seems the slow speed of the production is the key factor to del Toro's departure, and what started out as a two-year commitment was snow-balling into a six-year filmmaking process.
That's much too long for someone who's constantly interested in new projects to bide his time in New Zealand. This frees up del Toro to explore any one of his long-rumored new films, whether it's Hellboy III, his Frankenstein remake, or his long-awaited Lovecraft creep-out At the Mountains of Madness.
What project should del Toro tackle next? And who should fill his shoes on The Hobbitt?
(source: The One Ring)