Future “Hobbit” director Guillermo del Toro and former “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson sat down with a world-wide internet audience and answered a lot more than the announced “20 questions” this weekend.

Hosted by Weta, there were a lot of minor details and significant confirmations and revelations about the gigantic production that will yield two “Hobbit” related movies, one in 2011 and the second in 2012.

Peter Jackson said,

“2009 will be dedicated to pre-production on both movies and 2010 will be the year we shoot both films back to back. Post productin follows one film at a time with The Hobbit being released Dec(ember) 2011, and F2 (film two) release(d) Dec(ember) 2012.”

One of the biggest themes of the chat defined the role of Jackson as producer and writer rather than director. He said,

“If we disagree, the director has to win, because you should never force a director to shoot something they don’t believe in. But we’re both reasonably practical and ego-free, and I believe that if we disagree, we both have the ability to express our differing theorys – state our case, like lawyers – and between us, work out what’s best for the movie.”

It was also revealed that Jackson and his team of writers (which includes Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens) will be joined in the process by del Toro. The four of them will work out a script according to Jackson.

“If the director is part of the writing, it means he was there when the discussions took place, story decisions were made … he knows why things are the way they are, and what they need to achieve.
“I see my role as being part of that writing team, which will create the blueprint, and then helping Guillermo construct the movie. I want Guillermo to make his movies, and I want to make sure we end up with a 5 movie series that’s as good as it can possibly be.”

Apparently the most popular of the 6,000 questions sent in to chat moderators in the two weeks prior to the big event was about the LOTR trilogy’s actors and if they would return to the films. Those paying any attention to TORn or even Hobbit news in general already knew the answer was “yes” but the two directors went beyond the obvious. del Toro explained it quite definitively, later confirmed by Jackson.

“Obviously, at this stage, the second film is still being figured out- so the actors that have been approached may or not have appeared in the HOBBIT as a literary work but still may appear in the second film as it ‘blends’ into the Trilogy and expands. Therefore what can be said is: Unequivocally, every single actor that originated a role in the Trilogy will be asked to participate and reprise it. If Health, availability or willingness become obstacles – and only in that case recasting would be considered.

The inclusion of many other production figures such as Alan Lee, John Howe, Howard Shore and the Weta workshops were also confirmed, none of that wasn’t a surprise. Each director loves practical effects and favors them over CGI with del Toro explaining that he would use animatronics for creatures.

Del Toro pasted a rather long conglomeration of his comments at TheOneRing.net’s message boards (summarized right here) he made as part of a healthy discussion about the dragon Smaug and restated that he has an actor in mind for the voice. Jackson said he and del Toro are still at the very early stages of how to present the film’s information to the internet and DVD audience and the use of production diaries hasn’t been discussed.

Much to this writer’s delight, del Toro delivered the first statement of any kind about how the large group of Dwarves from the source material will be handled.

“Tolkien wrote 13 dwarves and I intend to use 13 dwarves. I am, in fact, thrilled to keep them all and have them be distinguishable and affecting as characters. Much of the drama and emotion in the last third of the book and film will come from them.”

Editorial comment:HOOOOORAY!

Other tidbits dropped in the course of the conversation:

* The LOTR movies are being worked on for the Blue Ray format but will definitely not be seen this year (Jackson has mentioned the 10-year mark previously)
* The film (distinctly not digital) will be shot in the same aspect ratio as the LOTR trilogy (2:35:1) and not in del Toro’s favorite ratio (1:85) to preserve the continuity with the LOTR films
* Beorn is almost sure to be in the film, del Toro hinted that, “I also like TB quite a bit…” Could it be the jolly enigma of Middle-earth known as Tom Bombadil could fit somewhere in the two films?
* del Toro has something in mind for Ron Perlman (suggested by TORn for Thorin right here)
* Gollum’s role might be larger than just his riddles in the dark, especially in film two
* there are no plans at the moment for filming in 3D
* wargs and goblins will be approached anew from the LOTR films
* Film two will not attempt to document the whole 60 years between Bilbo’s and Frodo’s adventures
* Rather it will focus more on one central “event” from that time frame, perhaps even filling in Gandalf’s gaps when he leaves the stage of the Hobbit film
* If it still wasn’t clear to anybody, the adaptation of “The Hobbit” will be one film
* They will look to write with traditional film structure but perhaps finding structure where others might not expect it. Said del Toro, “I am all for trying to preserve every idiosyncrasy the novel has- the very things that seem “unfilmable” and that – in my mind- will make it thrilling as a film.”
* As anybody could have guessed, they will film in New Zealand (not Italy)

TheOneRing.net staff did a live blog commentary of the chat, found right here. It yields some interesting insights and raises pertinent questions and like a true blog new stuff went on top, so the chat is a little backwards.

You can read the full official transcript of the chat right here.

And of course visit our live chat Barliman’s to see what fans are still talking about!