Guillermo Del Toro Speaks Out About 'The Hobbit' Departure While Pre-Production Continues

Last week, director Guillermo del Toro released a 182-word statement explaining why he decided to part ways with "The Hobbit," the long-in-the-works, two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's seminal work. The development took fans by surprise, and del Toro followed through on his promise to further elucidate his reasons for moving on after two years of work.

Citing reasons as diverse as production delays, troubles at studio MGM and the strains of moving his family to New Zealand, del Toro's 464-word statement strikes a wistful and conflicted tone. Clearly, it pains the director to leave a project about which he continues to be passionate.

"My commitment to the project demanded enormous sacrifices both in personal and professional terms," he wrote. "The consequences of which will ripple for years. I relocated my entire life and family to New Zealand and first came on board in 2008. So - while the cited delays, contractual complexities or obstacles, cannot be attributed to a single event or entity - you will simply have to believe that they were of sufficient complexity and severity to lead to the current situation. Trust me on this... leaving NZ and the 'Hobbit' crew is extremely painful."

"Preproduction continues as we speak," he added.

MTV News can confirm that statement, as a trusted source tells us that casting continues, despite the lack of a designed successor as director. Del Toro is staying on as co-writer of the screenplays, along with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

"I hope you will understand how delicate the subject is for me," he concluded. "I am not here, however, to provide a blow-by-blow of what happened, but to assure you, as I have, that it has been the toughest situation of my life."