Xenite.org founder and Tolkien scholar Michael Martinez weighed in with his take on the Hobbit/PJ situation:

“I WOULD like to see Peter make the movie(s). It would be interesting to see his interpretation of THE HOBBIT, but I think it would be a neat experience for the same director to guide our cinematic vision of Middle-earth in one fell swoop. Although I believe there will eventually be more LoTR-based movies by other hands, I don’t think we’ll ever see another director given the opportunity to “sweep” the Tolkien books.

“As far as the settings for Middle-earth, much though I know many fans want to associate New Zealand with Tolkien’s landscapes in their minds, I would not care so much about a different country as a vision that didn’t remind me of Tolkien. Peter could have made Middle-earth look very different in his movies without changing settings. The magic is in part how the director moves through the landscape of the story.

“Maybe the hardest difference to swallow would be seeing another actor play Gandalf. I still have trouble thinking of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. Not because he isn’t good as Dumbledore, but simply because Richard Harris defined the cinematic character for me. I’ve maintained ever since “Fellowship of the Ring” first screened that Ian McKellen is the perfect Gandalf.

“One more time with Peter, Ian, and whomever else could be drawn into the magic of Faerie from the first three movies would be good for me.

“Finally, if Saul Zaentz has figured out a way to explore more of the timeline, let him. I think we should see many, many Middle-earth movies. Some would be greater than others, but the material is there, waiting to be explored. We could erect no greater tribute to Tolkien’s Art than to help it evolve into a new Art shaped by many minds.”