Ian McKellen just sent out a tweet saying The Hobbit is moving along even without Guillermo del Toro. Casting is set for next month. Yay! Here's the link. And here's more information about the two movies. The old idea was they were doing one movie with the events from the Hobbit and the second one about the events between the Hobbit and the Fellowship, I assume dealing a lot with Aragorn's search for Gollum. Now they plan to split the Hobbit into two, dramatizing some of the events only mentioned including the White Council driving Sauron (the Necromancer) out of Dol Guldur. Sounds good to me. So Cate Blanchett really will have a meatier role. Of course the perennial question is who will play Thranduil?