Raimi and BagginsNow that the whole New Line v. Peter Jackson v. New Line feud has exploded with a concussive blast that’s apparently flattened any modicum of goodwill between the parties (read Devin’s coverage here), the real speculation on who will direct The Hobbit and have it out before I celebrate my first grandchild’s birthday* can begin. So, here’s the first of them: The LA Times is already reporting Sam Raimi (Oh no, Spidey fans!) has been expressing interest in the adventures of Hobbits and the baubles they stroke.

Keep in mind, this is Sam Raimi expressing interest to "associates" , which is about the equivalent of me saying I’d like to star in it. Anyone can express interest. I’m sure there are loads of directors who would be interested, but "interest" and "sure thing" live on opposite continents of action.

The Times is reporting New Line has no deal with Raimi (which should come as no surprise), while MGM is carrying the distribution card and has stated that dammit, they believe in Peter Jackson and expect he will be making the film when all is said and done. A statement like is made to be broken should things work out with a another director, but that may just be MGM playing the wait and see hand, which, in this case, doesn’t put any kind of urgency anywhere.

In the end, this is simply a juicy bit of geek gossip and breeding ground for internet diatribes from both Hobbit and Spidey fans. Fact is, right now, it’s simply speculation and, at best, a peek at the caliber of directors interested in taking the trip to Middle Earth.

*This would be approximately, oh… 2026.