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Since Guillermo del Toro departed The Hobbit project last month, there have been rumors that WB and MGM were heavily courting Peter Jackson to direct the two films. Now its looking likely that Jackson will direct the films after all.

THR’s Heat Vision blog is reporting that the director is in negotiations to take on the project and they hope to fast-track the films for release in 2012 and 2013 as previously planned:

Jackson is in negotiations to helm the films, which were left without a captain after Guillermo del Toro parted ways on May 30. Obstacles to a deal remain, including agreeing on a schedule that will allow Jackson to fast-track the films for release in 2012 and 2013, but insiders are cautiously optimistic that a pact can be worked out.

Talks, which have been going on for a week or two, heated up in recent days between Warner Bros./New Line and Jackson’s team. Complications include the shaky financial situation of partner MGM, which owns the “Hobbit” rights and could hold up the production timetable. A significant delay would be a dealbreaker for Jackson.