There is a rumor floating around various different websites this afternoon that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I and Part II director David Yates is gearing up to take over the directorial reigns on The Hobbit and its untitled sequel. /film has even declared the man New Line's top choice at this stage in the game. Again, though, this is all speculative.

Yates would be taking over for Guillermo del Toro, who dropped out earlier this month, and plans to announce his next project at Comic-Con 2010. Guillermo del Toro is still collaborating on the script with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens. And he will remain on board as a producer.

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This news should be taken as a rumor for the time being. We will have more information as soon as it breaks.