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It’s official: Peter Jackson will direct The Hobbit

Deadline confirms that Peter Jackson will indeed step back into the role of director for the Lord of the Rings two-part prequel The Hobbit:

Saw yesterday’s breathless report that Peter Jackson is close to a deal to direct The Hobbit and I am bewildered how anyone slaps an “exclusive” tag on a story Deadline broke on June 25, when Jackson moved from co-writer/producer into the director’s chair. Recent reports by the LA Times and NY Times have added some nice details, but Deadline laid out back then the chain of events that are unfolding now.

The two-part film could begin production as early as January 2011 with ‘Part 1’ expected to hit theaters in December 2012 followed by ‘Part 2’ in December 2013.