Peter Jackson by Pierre Vinet/New Line Peter Jackson by Pierre Vinet/New Line

Following much legal tangling and a small degree of name-calling, Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have settled all litigation relating to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and reached an agreement to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to the big screen. "I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line," Jackson says in a statement to the AP. "We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth."

As was done with the three Lord of the Rings films Jackson helmed, a pair of Hobbit movies will be filmed simultaneously. Production is set to begin in 2009, with the releases coming in 2010 and 2011. While Jackson (with Fran Walsh) will executive-produce the pics, a director has yet to be named.