‘James Bond 23’ Delayed Indefinitely is ‘The Hobbit’ Next?

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Make no mistake about it, this isn’t rumor or speculation based on an anonymous source. This is information taken straight from a just released press statement from 007 producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, saying James Bond 23, which was expected to be directed by Sam Mendes and once again star Daniel Craig as James Bond has been delayed indefinitely. The film was previously scheduled for release 2011/2012.

The reason should come as no surprise to folks that pay attention to more industry related specific news as Broccoli and Wilson jointly said, “Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on Bond 23 indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of Bond 23.”

Of course, such a decision may be exactly what is necessary to get things moving, as drastic measures can certainly light more fires once people see things have gone from just being talk to actually showing some real world effect. However, will the troubles at MGM affect more than just 007?

In a recent interview with Moviefone Peter Jackson spoke of the expected adaptation of The Hobbit to be directed by Guillermo del Toro saying, “Well, it’s not really been delayed, because we’ve never announced the date. I mean it’s sort of interesting because [MGM] has never greenlit The Hobbit, so therefore The Hobbit has never been officially announced as a ‘go’ project, nor have we ever announced a date.”

While Ian McKellen, expected to return as Gandalf, has previously stated on his official site that production would begin in July, a spokesman from co-production company New Line denied such a statement and Jackson confirms that saying they “haven’t signed any actors up yet.”

Jackson does confirm both screenplays for the two-part feature are done and submitted to the studio. They are now budgeting the film. Perhaps MGM is looking at The Hobbit to be their savior, at which time they can focus on movies such as the continuation of the Bond franchise. One thing I know, the failure of Hot Tub Time Machine to live up to its Internet hype was a blow MGM was not anticipating.

As a big fan of the Bond franchise I hope something gets worked out, and personally I’m not entirely interested in returning to Middle Earth, but if it happens I’ll be more than willing to check it out, but it won’t devastate me either way.