Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films, has voiced dismay over the decision to drop Peter Jackson as director of The Hobbit.
Peter refused to discuss working on the Hobbit until a DVD royalty dispute with New Line Cinema was settled.
However, New Line said it had only "limited time" to make the film and was proceeding without the Oscar-winning director.
The announcement has led to an online petition of 1,100 people asking for Jackson to be reinstated.
The petition created calls for The Hobbit to be filmed "the way it was meant to be or not at all".