Seems like Warner Bros. have warmed to The Hobbit once again, after announcing that they’ll be footing the $500m production bill.

After a colossal amount of in-fighting, angry unions, an even angrier Warner Bros. and an even, still yet angrier Peter Jackson, it’s finally going ahead. And, in a rather generous turn of events (or not really, considering the potential box-office gross), The Hobbit‘s two-film budget will be entirely covered by Warner Bros.

Then again, the main benefit to them, in addition to making it all back with the first film alone (it’s The Hobbit, not The Expendables) is that they’ll be getting worldwide distribution rights, though the financially embattled MGM will be given the television rights as part of the company’s ongoing deals with angry creditors.

People are asking if we’ll see the Lord of the Rings cast in action again. Well, McKellen’s Gandalf is a given – the film won’t work without him, and the potential addition of Elijah Wood’s not a deal-breaker. But to see the few characters who should be in both eras of Middle Earth would be an absolute joy. Endlessly more on this as it moves forwards, people.

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