In the wake of the news that Guillermo del Toro has resigned as director of The Hobbit prequels, my friend David Krieger penned the following open letter on Facebook. With his permission, I have reposted it here.
I am grieved to hear the news of Mr. Del Toro’s departure from The Hobbit. I write to you to plead that you take over the project yourself. If the press reports are accurate, you can’t do so because you’re committed to other projects that must take precedence.
But none of them will change the world. And with The Lord of the Rings you changed the world. I’m a lifelong Tolkien fan, and one of the first books I read that weren’t intended for children was The Lord of the Rings. Like Christopher Lee, I’ve re-read them periodically ever since. With breathless anticipation I waited for The Fellowship of the Ring to come out – and the first time I saw a video glimpse of your vision of Lothlorien, I literally had to hide my tears in my cubicle at work. Really, that right there is such an indictment of the world we live in – we work in cubes! Men can’t display their emotions! There’s no such thing as Lothlorien! For a little while, none of that mattered, because you brought us The Shire, you brought us Rivendell, you showed us Rohan and Gondor in all their glory.
As an orthodox Tolkienite, many of my friends and fellow Tolkien fans expected I would be outraged in a nerd-fury sort of way at the changes in Professor Tolkien’s story that you, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens made to suit the screen. But I wasn’t – in fact, from almost the first moment that theater darkened and the film rolled, I knew you were a faithful and careful steward of a great piece of literature, and the man who stood at the right moment in time to bring together technology, artists, performers and finance to create an epic piece the likes of which had never been seen before. And you did, and it was astonishing.
Here is new opportunity, and a chance for you to secure your already legendary status amongst filmmakers. No one else can do this with the style and verve that you earned through your sweat on The Lord of the Rings. No one can tend to JRR Tolkien’s legacy with love, skill, and faith as well as you can. The Hobbit is one of the most beloved stories of all time, and here is a chance for you to make a film that will do for children, and a new generation of fans, what The Lord of the Rings did for me and my peers.
What could be of greater importance than that? As an impresario you have nurtured the careers of brilliant young or under-appreciated filmmakers. As a producer, you’ve brought to the screen many beautiful, moving films. But now is the time for you to be a LEGEND, and secure forever your place in the vault of greatest directors of all time – with one of the greatest stories of all time by one of the greatest authors of all time.
Sir, this is your hour. You are Theoden King, and the Riddermark looks to you to point the way to save the realm when all is poised to plunge the world into darkness! Please, don’t content yourself as Eldrond, the passive counselor whose best days are past, and must inevitably pass into the West! Call your spears, Theoden King, and ride to rescue! The world looks to you.