Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has been officially appointed as the director of The Hobbit and its sequel The Hobbit 2, dpa reported.
The move was announced by Peter Jackson and the other producers of the prequels to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings which grossed over 3 billion dollars and set Oscar records when it was translated into a movie franchise.
"We have long admired Guillermo's work and cannot think of a more inspired filmmaker to take the journey back to Middle-earth," said Jackson said in a statement. "We are delighted 'The Hobbit' is in such trustworthy hands."
Del Toro is best known as a director of stylish fantasy films including Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and Blade 2. He said contributing to the Rings legacy was "an absolute dream come true."
As part of the deal, Del Toro will relocate to New Zealand for the next four years to work with Jackson and his production teams. He will direct the films back to back - telling the story of The Hobbit, and its sequel, which will deal with the 60-year period before The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.