Comic-Con: Why There Better Be A Hobbit Announcement This Year (Today)

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Expect plenty of announcements to roll out during Comic-Con over the next four days, at least surrounding the biggest and most popular franchises. I, for one, am planning on hearing a whole lot more about TRON: Legacy, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead. Maybe The Green Lantern and Green Hornet to boot.

But glaringly absent from this year’s Comic-Con is the exuberance surrounding The Hobbit – which really should be the fantasy title that has everyone talking this year in San Diego. Instead, the project, which has been mired in the bureaucracy of failing MGM finances, has already lost the director that had us so psyched – Guillermo Del Toro. And while Peter Jackson still seems to be considering taking over the reigns himself – he was reportedly casting the film just last week – the production has effectively come to a hard stop.

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The financial difficulties that swamped the James Bond franchise have also swamped the continuation of our big-screen Lord of the Rings adventures. Color me annoyed – but probably nowhere near as pissed as those who will gather this morning at the 10:30 a.m. panel “ Talks The Hobbit Movies.” Here are the most devout of the Middle Earthers, and while just about everyone else has joined by their side in cheering on the big-screen adaptation of Tolkien’s brilliant first chapter, now it appears as if it won’t happen for a while – or might never happen, given the current timidness of a cash-strapped movie industry.

In any event, I think it’s sadly ironic that, while Lord of the Rings was the global phenomenon that led to a resurgence of mainstream pop culture fantasy, and convinced Hollywood once and for all that there’s a place for all these fantasy franchises in the summer lineups, this year’s Hobbit talk in San Diego will be more vague pipe dream than specific jubilation, looking ahead to 2012.

I’ll try to find a few chaps from TheOneRing to talk more about The Hobbit, and the buzz crackling through Thursday’s panel. In the meantime, I’d encourage anyone involved in any fashion with The Hobbit movie to say anything that will cause the smallest spark of enthusiasm to ripple through these convention halls. Or else pretty soon the buzz will fade to annoyance, and then an afterthought; these are your fans, give us all a reason to believe that the ring of power is more powerful than a simple balance sheet.

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