My favorite of the rumors was Neil Blomkamp. I think he would have done an interesting job with the property, but that rumor has been squashed pretty thoroughly. Since del Toro’s departure, many fanboys were hoping Jackson would step up into the director’s role and essentially ‘finish what he started’.
Jackson himself said in an interview he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of directing the films if a suitable director couldn’t be found. Well, I guess they weren’t looking terribly hard. Reports are coming out now the Jackson is currently in negotiations with the studios to helm the two films and is working a deal to try and fast-track the films for a 2012 and 2013 release.
Don’t get too excited yet, they are just negotiating and plenty of issues are left up in the air. Of course the biggest issue is MGM’s current financial woes, because if The Hobbit rights get included in the bankruptcy then this project could be put on hold indefinitely (like James Bond). On top of that it’s also an issue as to whether or not they can afford to pay Peter Jackson.
With other projects on the back-burner and certain other contractual obligations Jackson has, quite a bit of money would probably be needed in order for him to break those responsibilities. Regardless it’s exciting that Peter Jackson may be returning to Tolkien’s world as a director, and all we can do at this point is cross our fingers and hope!