Bad news, fantasy buffs: Guillermo del Toro has announced that because of production delays he will not direct The Hobbit, the screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel and two-part prequel to Peter Jackson's celebrated Lord of the Rings trilogy. Del Toro told TheOneRing.net, "After nearly two years of living, breathing, and designing a world as rich as Tolkein’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures." He also noted that the financially troubled studio MGM has not officially greenlit the picture. "There cannot be any start dates until the MGM situation gets resolved," del Toro said, adding that the creative team is ready to go: "We have designed all the creatures. We've designed the sets and the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned battle sequences," he said, continuing, "We are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered." Though he has departed as director, del Toro will stay on as co-screenwriter, alongside Jackson, Jackson's wife Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens.