Lord of the Rings TV Show in the Works

There have been whispers of a possible Lord of the Rings TV show for some time now, but that silence has now been broken as we learned that Amazon has acquired the rights and support from the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema.

The move comes in a reported $250 million deal in which Amazon won the race against Deadline, Netflix, and HBO. The details are a little sparse at this point, as you may expect, but we have some details already.

What’s it all about?

It’s been 15 years since we had Peter Jackson’s award-winning movies were in the cinema and besides the not so great Hobbit movies, fans of the series haven’t had much to enjoy cinematically.

This new series looks to compete with the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones and will explore the worlds of Tolkien set between the events of the Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit.

By the time we get our hands on the first season of this show Game of Thrones will have been and gone, clearing the way for a new fantasy setting. Although we know when the series will be set, it actually doesn’t tell us anything. It is possible as some book fans have pointed out that the series will draw on influences from some of Tolkien’s other books like The Silmarillion, for example.

All this is just speculation for now and as we get further details down the line, we will have a much better idea of what this new series is likely to offer. Hopefully some more Legolas and less Gloin.

What are they saying?

In the follow up to the announcement we have had some statements come from both ends of the deal. The Tolkien estate and Amazon have both spoken about the deal and from what they’re saying, everything looks to be rosy.

When speaking about the deal Sharon Tal Yguado, the Head of Scripted Series at Amazon Studios said, “The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

A member of the Tolkien estate added “We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings. Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

This all points away from what most people feared – a remake of the movies. Yes, the trilogy left a lot out of the deep and rich books, but that last thing people wanted in an age of remakes, was a remake, and I agree. The movies are part of our history now and should be left as they are. I’m looking forward to seeing a different side to Middle-Earth and perhaps visiting a Hobbit hole or two.

What’s the reaction?

Reaction to the announcement has been rather mixed. It seems there is a bit of a split in camps from what I’m seeing on social media. Book readers seem to be less enthused about the ideas of exploring Tolkien’s notes, rather than a full-on novel. I spoke to one avid book reader who told me “They missed so much out of the movie adaptations that when I heard the news I got a little bit excited that they might produce these works properly. I’m fine with them going in a new direction; I’m just a little apprehensive about giving people too much creative freedom in a delicate world.”

Fans of the movie series alone seem a little more optimistic with many calling for Peter Jackson to direct and produce the series, something I can’t see happening.  Whatever Amazon decides to do with the series it’s clear that there is already a large amount of pressure to produce something of quality. It’s going to be hard to please both book and movies fans, so good luck!

When can we see it?

As of right now, we have no idea. The only business that we know is completed is that the rights have been acquired. This means they still have to write the script, find the actors and the start shooting the whole thing.

It’s likely to be a fair few years before we get Middle-Earth back on the screen again. No dates or specific timeline has been spoken of and considering that these things can run into plenty of problems on the way, I wouldn’t hold your breath for this series, just yet.

What would Tolkien do?

It’s not known how JRR Tolkien himself would have felt about the movies, let alone they’re being a TV adaption, Video games and all the other media that comes along with it. Some of the estates voiced their displeasure at the movies during their released, whilst other supported it, even going as far as to visit the set.

After all, Tolkien himself sold the rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit when he was still alive and this is why we had Ralph Bakshi’s animated movies. Things have changed a lot since then with games like Shadow of War exploring different stories in Middle-Earth, even going as far as changing the lore.

From the statements made, the Tolkien estate seems happy with the deal and restrictions to have reportedly been put in place that detail what can and cannot be done with this new series. So no spaceships will land in the shire.

I can’t speak for the Tolkien estate but I can speak for myself. The movie adaptions opened the gateway for so many of us into Tolkien’s world. I may have found the books without the movies, but it’s undeniable how many people will have read the source material following the movies. On that part, this new TV show can only be a good thing.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.
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