Del Toro had quit due to continual delays over the film"s making and said his resignation was "the hardest decision I've ever taken". "It was simply longer than anyone expected, the fans and the film makers," he told The Dominion Post at his Thorndon home. It was more a factor of the other commitments asking for a start [time] than The Hobbit needing a date to start," Stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.
"One of my best friends died about a year ago," del Toro said. "The main thing we have in common was at age 11 we read The Hobbit. We used to spend many, many afternoons talking about how great it would be to make The Hobbit into a movie. So it was very personal to me," he added.
Jackson said that Del Toro"s resignation happened amicably, and that he wouldn't rule out directing The Hobbit himself if a suitable person could not be found. "If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore," he said.
But stepping in as director would be difficult, as he had signed writer and director contracts with Hollywood studios for two other films, with one likely to begin next year. Jackson said November was now the earliest start date for shooting, but it depended on finding the right director.
He said: "I just don't know now until we get a new director. The key thing is that we don't intend to shut the project down. We don't intend to let this affect the progress. Everybody, including the studio, wants to see things carry on as per normal. The idea is to make it as smooth a transition as we can."