I know what many fans are going to do with this news: blame everything on James Cameron. Many nerds will label him in the wrong light and take all of this totally the wrong way. Don’t worry, I did it too at first, but after some thought, and reading exactly what he said he’s not an evil man.
Whether you hate him or love him, or fall somewhere in between, James Cameron is a brilliant filmmaker and has helped to shape the industry today. So when James Cameron gives you advice, it carries some weight, and his experience is nothing to laugh about. While discussing their current collaboration, At The Mountains of Madness, Cameron spoke briefly on advice he had given Guillermo del Toro while he was still attached to direct The Hobbit:
“I was telling him for a long time to get out of that thing because there is only room for one captain on the ship…Instinctively I knew that Peter was going to take over and do the movie. Guillermo, to his credit, didn’t listen to me and wanted to do continue and had some great designs – and I have seen all the designs.”
On one side, I could see how people could see this as an insult to Jackson, but it’s not. It’s actually a great compliment to the man. But if you stop reading at that quote (as many have) you’ll come away thinking he’s a big prick. However, he goes on to clarify:
“Of course he would have done a spectacular job, but don’t we want to see Peter do it? He should do it and Guillermo should do his thing. That’s what I told both of them – you should just stay in your corners.”
In reading these, one has to remember that del Toro and Cameron are really good friends, and have been for some time. So really he was giving advice to a friend, and gave an honest opinion. And we have to remember that del Toro didn’t listen to him. MGM and their financial woes (and constant delays) that eventually caused him to leave the project.
Besides, Cameron is absolutely right, we all want to see Peter Jackson finish up the franchise he started. It’s his vision so let him have it. But if The Hobbit never sees the light of day, I fear Cameron may be blamed for it….believe me, I know how irrational us fans can be.