The Lord of the Rings – TV Series?

The Lord of the Rings (on-screen logo)

News has just emerged that Warner Bros. and Amazon have begun early talks for a possible The Lord of the Rings series.

“Nothing is certain,” says Elrond in The Two Towers; a very apt quote in light of this news. Whether talks are actually happening, or what the nature of these talks are, cannot be fully determined or confirmed at the moment.

However, let’s just speculate a bit.

In a way, the news is exciting as it will allow us to witness other people’s vision of Tolkien’s story. It is a chance to delve in certain aspects of the book which were not dealt with in the original film trilogy. Given it’s episodic format possibilities, this could turn out to be a really great addition (or, dare I say it, rival) to existing adaptations.

On the other hand, do we really need another The Lord of the Rings adaptation? Don’t get me wrong. The idea is very appealing and I wouldn’t mind delving back into Middle-earth with a fresh pair of eyes. Yet, it seems that the impact of the Rings trilogy is still as strong as it was back when the films were released. The Hobbit further strengthened that influence, and it now seems that people have been thoroughly saturated with the world and the characters.

But what if this series was set in Middle-earth yet followed the stories in the Appendices?

Ah, that would be a different scenario entirely. Absolutely yes! That would be fantastic.

Branching out into the backstory of The Lord of the Rings, or the narratives running parallel to the War of the Ring, via the numerous potentials of a series, would be the perfect way to add even more detail and realism to the whole Middle-earth cinematic universe (which feels hardly possible given how well Peter Jackson crafted the world).

So at this point it’s just a waiting game. We will have to see how things unfold, learn more about what the series will actually tackle and what will come out of all these “early talks”.

Many ardent Tolkien fans will surely be dismayed by this news. But I myself cannot help feeling excited at the prospect of what may lie ahead.

Till next time.

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27 thoughts on “The Lord of the Rings – TV Series?

  1. I can’t deny this news has gotten me excited. However, I sincerely hope that this won’t be a repeat of Peter Jackson’s films. The PJ movies are only a tiny fraction of the universe that is Middle-Earth. I hope this is less about specifically LOTR, but just Tolkien’s works as a whole. Note, the articles don’t say that the Saul Zaentz Company is in talks; they only own LOTR and The Hobbit. All the articles say that The Tolkien Estate is in talks, and they own The Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin, etc. I guess we can only wait and see.

    • I agree completely. Use the LotR story and film the best you can do is “Is it as good as?” Do something new. That world is so much bigger, and won’t invite comparisons. Or try out Patrick Rossfuss’ world, which touches upon most of the worlds problems, and surviving them, all while keeping to the fantasy genre.

  2. A 13-part series all about Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, chronicling their daily forest upkeep and ordinary marital squabbles as they’re mostly ignorant of the events of the War of the Ring happening elsewhere in Middle-earth.

    It will end with a screen of plain text reading “Happy now, everyone who complained that Tom wasn’t in Fellowship of the Ring? This is what you wanted, right?”

    There’ll be one episode in the middle where Glorfindel shows up, but he doesn’t do anything other than camping there for a while and saying “I’d just like to make it clear that I, Glorfindel, Elf of Rivendell, do exist in this narrative universe.” directly to camera.

  3. I am both thrilled and horrified at once.

    Well, first, for positives, there could be a longer running time, which means they could include some of the slowers bits or sections that don’t work for a movies pace, such as the Scouring of the Shire and Tom Bombadil, and perhaps go into more detail, and include some left out characters, such as dear old Bob and Nob and Fatty Bolger and Beregond. And it would simply be another Middle-earth adaptation.

    On the other hand, it will immediately be compared to some of the greatest movies ever, which means it can’t just be done well, it has to be done amazingly well. You can’t just chuck some discount medieval costumes on people, they’d have to pour love and immense care into it to be able to at all match the loving detail of the films. If it is truly a new adaption of LOTR, the series would have to craft a brilliant new visual adaption to hold it’s ground at all.

    Which is why I agree that telling other stories would be the best idea. Theoretically, you could set it in the same continuity of the films, which could save some time and effort. Most importantly, it would lessen comparisons to the films.

    Worst case scenario is that, if this series is meant to rival (shudder) Game of Thrones, that whoever is making it would want to add inappropriate material.

    If they did that they would have demonstrated that they failed to understand Tolkien and his fandom at all.

    But, best case scenario, it will be well done, and will be another brilliant adventure through Middle-earth.

    Assuming this happens. In the meantime, I suppose we will have to follow Treebeard’s advice.

  4. The most difficult thing for any future adaption is going to be the production design. Peter Jackson’s collaboration with Alan Lee and John Howe has made all of the settings and locations of the film trilogy so iconic that it will be very difficult for any subsequent live-action adaptation. That said, I’d love to see other director’s choices in terms of characterization and script. I could also be game for some Appendices stories, but I am not keen to see an “infinite paracosm” ala Star Wars in which side characters get spun-off and the saga goes forward and backwards forever. While that works great for Star Wars and I love the sandbox with a thousand artists, Tolkien needs to remain the sole proprietor of his legendarium without any Shadow of Mordor type side-stories.

  5. I am earnestly divided on how I feel about this. This may be an opportunity to explore parts of the Tolkien lore that weren’t able to be adapted into the movies, but seriously. It hasn’t even been 20 years since Fellowship was released in theaters. Even Disney was able to keep it reigned in a little longer than this with their 90s “Disney Renaissance” film that they’re all adapting into live action now.

    C’mon Warner Bros. If you’re gonna do this, do it right.

  6. If it gets done, I will watch it for sure! But I won’t be dissapointed if we don’t get a show, it is not necessary. Perhaps in another ten or twenty years a new adaption would be more welcome in general I feel. 🙂

  7. Actually, if it’s sort of an anthology series set in the same continuity as the films, as far as anything featuring peoples that have already been shown, they might be able to save a ton of time and effort as they would probably be able to pull outfits/props/costumes/miniatures/set dressing and fragments from the warehouse where Peter Jackson has everything tucked away, depending on what condition the stuff is in. If they could film in New Zealand and get weta in on it you could have CGI work already ready done, and pre-established locations, and people who know what they’re doing. Of course, you’d have to get Peter Jackson’s approval, but he seems open to other people working on Tolkien-themed projects. They’d have to rebuild sets and design anything that’s new, but if they had the people who worked on the films in on it, they could match what’s been done.

    If it’s just a new LOTR adaptation it will of course be far, far more expensive.

  8. Did they have Christopher Tolkien declared incompetent? Or have they gagged him and locked him in a closet? I always thought nothing more would be adapted while he controls the estate.

    • Well, as far as I’m aware, the studios should have rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – which means that the Appendices fall within those same rights.

  9. I’m wary. Though you are certainly correct about the possibilities of delving into aspects of the book not present in the movies. What would be very welcome news is a Silmarillion T.V. series. Game of Thrones has shown that such a project can be done well.

  10. I’m really excited about the Idea of a LOTR tv series. There was a lot of things from the book that didn’t make it into the movie, like Tom Bombadil. It would be a dream come true for Ardent Tolkien fans to see Tom Bombadil on the big screen, movie or tv.

  11. I had no idea!
    In all honesty, I’m not too thrilled at the news. I think I’m one of those ardent fans of Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s LotR and Hobbit films that are a bit dismayed at the news. I love the live-action films that are already in existence, and I don’t think I would be able to watch any other adaptions. Especially because I think the actors chosen by Jackson were PERFECT.
    But it might turn out well, if it ends up happening. We’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

  12. If they are done well I will enjoy them. The books will always be the middle earth scriptures but anything (like the films and LOTRO) that enrich my imagination of this world is welcome.

  13. When I first heard about the news, I immediately wondered what you would think of it. I’m with you on the mixed feelings boat. Part of me loves the idea of finally seeing Tom Bombadil in action, and part of me can’t imagine anyone besides Sean Austin playing Sam. If it were other stories — since there are so many others out there in Middle-earth — I would be all about it. But who knows?

  14. This is such a cash grab. There is categorically no reason at all, other than greed, to remake Peter Jackson’s films into tv format. If they truly want to make it in line with the books, adapt other stories from Tolkien’s legendarium. If they can’t get the rights, then perhaps that tells you something: leave it alone. Yet another company wanting to Marvel-ize a great work of literature. Poor Christopher Tolkien, and JRR himself.

    What say you?

  15. I do rather suspect it won’t have any Tolkien stories/tales in it, just use the general Middle Earth setting for original stories. Use the background mythology for a firm base. Not a bad idea at all as long as it’s done with respect.

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