Some new news about the potential Prequel to the LOTR Trilogy have surfaced. The rights issues that prevented 'The Hobbit' from being made in the first place have been worked out. New Line now owns the rights to produce the film. Now the only question is whether or not P.J. still wants to do it. The info is from 'The Green Dragon: Middle-Earth Collectible Heaven' website.
In the News: HUGE Small Little Tidbit of Hobbit News

Today we learned something that should not come to a surprise to anyone who has ever visited this site or any other Lord of the Rings collector /movie site. As most of you know (or don't) Peter Jackson intended to make The Hobbit FIRST, but both he and New Line ran into difficulty with licensing issues. PJ plainly stated this in the most recent Fan Club interview. To avoid dragging it out, they decided to pursue the trilogy instead...and I bet we are all glad they did! Now for the new news...according to sources that I WILL NOT name under penalty of death, New Line has worked out the licensing issues for The Hobbit and now OWNS THE RIGHTS. In other words, they will more than likely be making The Hobbit sometime in the near future. As far as Peter Jackson's being director...unknown at this point, but he definitely wants to be involved (director or producer?). Stay tuned for more details as we learn more.

SPECIAL NOTE: Neither Toybiz, nor any other licenses collectible producer for the New Line Movies has rights to The Hobbit...so it will be ANOTHER bidding war for toys, and collectibles alike if The Hobbit comes to pass. Hope and pray that Toybiz, Sideshow, Play Along, etc. retain the licenses and we get the appropriate scale figures/toys from The Hobbit to go along with their trilogy line. Lets just hope we get a Deluxe SMAUG!
MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks