According to Variety, some real decisions about the two Hobbit films could be made as early as next week. Fran Walsh and Philipa Boyens are set to get to work on the script under the eyes of Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. “We will all be involved in the script in some fashion but the exact definition is about a week away,” del Toro told the trade. “I am all for keeping the actors who originated the parts, as much as availability and their willingness will allow.

To that effect, Viggo Mortensen, Andy Serkis and, as previously reported, Ian McKellan have been contacted and are likely candidates to return.

Wait, Viggo? It’s been a while since I read The Hobbit, but Aragorn isn’t any sort of major character in the book. (I couldn’t even say for sure that he’s in it at all — feel free to refresh/correct me on that point.) That leads to some assumptions about what we’ll see in the second ‘bridge’ film, specifically with respect to Gandalf assigning Aragorn and other rangers to guard the area around the Shire. Confirmation on Liv Tyler’s involvement (or lack thereof) would help on that point; the same time period that includes Aragorn keeping an eye on the Shire would include his first meetings with Arwen. Beaks is on the phone with Tyler as I write this (for The Strangers) so maybe we’ll have clarification soon.

Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson will be part of an online Q&A with fans this Saturday, May 24, in which the two will answer the 20 most common questions about their approach to the film. Read Jackson’s announcement of the chat here, and get info and submit questions at Weta’s An Unexpected Party website.