New Line Cinema and MGM seem to be finally ready to make the return voyage to Middle Earth, with The Los Angeles Times reporting that The Hobbit and The Hobbit Sequel are just days away from getting the official green light.

The site talked with several sources close to the deal, who spoke under anonymity since they weren't authorized to share their knowledge publicly. It was said that Peter Jackson will in fact direct both movies and will also be attached as a writer and producer. It has been speculated for months that Peter Jackson would take the directorial reins over after Guillermo del Toro left the two-part prequel.

Both The Hobbit and The Hobbit Sequel will be shot back-to-back on a whopping $500 million budget. It is said that Warner Bros.-based New Line has been ready with their half of the money and were waiting on MGM to resolve its financial troubles. There are several scenarios that could lead to MGM securing their half of the funding, including taking out loans from studios such as 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. or other outside investors.

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The deals are expected to be closed in a matter of days, which would put the movies on track to start shooting in January for a December 2012 release of The Hobbit and a December 2013 release for The Hobbit Sequel.

We also reported earlier this week that the production was facing difficulties from the unions, which would make it unable to shoot in New Zealand. The Los Angeles Times is also reporting that this dispute is close to being resolved as well.

We'll be sure to keep you posted with any further details on The Hobbit and The Hobbit Sequel as soon as we have more information.