Lord of the Rings series!?

For discussion of the upcoming films based on The Hobbit and related material, as well as previous films based on Tolkien's work
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Beutlin
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Beutlin »

That is interesting news indeed, and (as most of you have probably already guessed) it now seems possible that the Amazon deal only could have come to fruition after Christopher Tolkien's resignation (and what that means concerning the nature and the scope of the rights which were acquired by Amazon is an entirely different question). Reading both news stories, one could of course reach the somewhat off-putting but not entirely unreasonable conclusion that Christopher Tolkien's successor or successors immediately acted upon his resignation and decided that the time had finally arrived to milk this cashcow for all its worth.

That said, I am not sure how long such high-stake negotiations in the entertainment business normally take. According to the PDF which Voronwë cited, Christopher Tolkien's appointment was terminated (I am not overly familiar with English law lingo, but couldn't this also mean that he was forced by others to resign?) on the 31st of August. If this whole deal had only been set into motion after his resignation, that would have given the parties involved only two and a half months to plan, pitch, negotiate, and sign the deal. That seems somewhat unrealistic, but then again, I am not working in the respective business. If one is in the habit of raising thoroughly unsubstantiated allegations, one could also theorize that Christopher Tolkien stepped down from his position because he did not want to sign off to this or similar television deals (I am not phrasing this sentence the way I do to imply that I believe in this scenario)

But then again, Christopher Tolkien is a man in his early nineties, and even if he were younger, multiple other reasons could exist for his resignation.

I honestly did not expect a confirmation of the Amazon deal so soon. Maybe this indicates that we will already get more concrete news about the series in the next six months, potentially even before the end of this year: something along the lines of where and when it will take place, who the main protagonist will be, and who will step into the roles of main writers:

MOUNT DOOM--(NEW YORK TIMES)--Dec. 17, 2017: Amazon today announced more details about their upcoming prequel series for The Lord of the Rings. "Amazon is proud to announce the reveal of The Young Strider Chronicles" said Aaron Aaronson, Head of Blockbuster Series, Amazon Studios: "The series is set fifty years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and will explore the adventures of a young Aragorn, seeking fame and love in the wider world of Middle-earth. Accompanied by his childhood-friends Andriel, the feisty and strong-willed daughter of Galadriel, and the always-disgruntled dwarf Bofobur, son of Hofobur, the young Strider will meet new friends and foes along his way. The series will introduce Olgbush, the long-forgotten second lieutenant of Sauron, who plans to conquer all of Middle-earth in the absence of his lord. Executive producer J. J. Abrams promises a faithful adaptation of Tolkien's larger bibliography: "We really try to remain faithful to the source material. Our main villain, the fierce-some Olgbush, for example, appears in a fan letter written to Tolkien in 1984. We really believe that Tolkien's main themes - cool battles, huge swords, and lots of landscape vistas - guide us in our effort to bring Middle-earth to a wider, 21st-century audience. Roberto Orci along with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have been announced as the main writers for the show, which, according to them, will feature a main twist about Sauron. The Young Strider Chronicles is scheduled for release on Oct. 16, 2019.

PS: Good news for V: Just read that in March of this year Amazon also announced that they will produce a series about The Grateful Dead. If all things go south, that way you can get Amazon Prime and potentially hate-watch two series at once (http://deadline.com/2017/03/grateful-de ... 202055101/).
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Frelga »

The NPR has some solid ideas.
https://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/ ... -spin-offs
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Beutlin, I had heard about the proposed Grateful Dead series some time ago. While I am skeptical, Long Strange Strip, the 6 part, 4+ hour documentary about the Dead that they produced, is quite good, so I am not completely pessimistic about that.

And honestly, if they hired writers who not only were talented writers but actually deeply understand Tolkien's world, this project could end up being good too. But I'll believe when I see it (and maybe not even then).

(Regarding the termination of Christopher's Directorship of the Estate, the language of the document is certainly unclear, but my information is that he voluntarily resigned.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

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Where's Solicitr when you need him?
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by kzer_za »

So a feeding frenzy for the Silmarillion rights is probably coming, I guess?

The LotR movies are in many ways not a typical Hollywood project, especially compared to the standards for blockbusters that have codified in the past couple decades. The budget, for example, was relatively modest for the project's scale, the actors were mostly unknown, use of CG is relatively restrained. While there are certainly parts where Jackson indulges his lowbrow impulses there are also many quiet moments that are atypical for a big adventure movie, such as including Frodo's disillusionment and not just ending with the coronation. Overall, it comes across as an excited fan (with a decent but imperfect understanding of the material) working on his first large-scale project and making the movies he wanted to make. This does not produce universally positive results, but more good than bad I think.

It's possible they'll find people who are truly passionate about Tolkien - the best-case scenario would be a team balanced between people with PJ's enthusiasm, people with a more in-depth knowledge of the legendarium, and some great proven writers and directors. But I'm afraid it's more likely LotR will just become typical prestige TV, or even worse a possible round of first-age movies will become a typical AAA cinematic universe.
Last edited by kzer_za on Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:41 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Alatar »

Its hard to know. The Man in the High Castle is the only AAA Amazon Prime production I've watched, but its superb. Certainly in a different league to something like Spartacus (Starz) or The Shannara Chronicles (MTV). Also, the likes of Netflix have made very high end Drama and Comic adaptations without overly relying on sex and violence to sell them.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Anduril »

With the news of this, the biopic and those Shadow of X video games, there seems to be a new push for "Middle-earth the brand" over the last few years. Perhaps it will be for the best in terms of getting some new blood in the fandom, and in forum sites. They're all on social media now. Christopher stepping down is the most somber part. Eventually, in the far future, they may even put out new prose. I guess it is the way of all fictional universes if the demand is there.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

TheHutt at TORN notes that Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Event Series at Amazon, has tweeted two hints:

Ask your echo “Which character is not affected by the power of the one ring?” #LordOfTheRings
https://twitter.com/SharonTalYguado/sta ... 8204315649

Ask your Echo “who is Aragorn?” #LordOfTheRings
https://twitter.com/SharonTalYguado/sta ... 6426261505

Looks like we will get to meet Old Tom after all, and see Aragorn's back story.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Primula Baggins »

I'm apprehensive about Old Tom—how will they possibly present him as he is in the book without it appearing ridiculous? The hopping about, the rhymes. . . .

However, my reaction to the thought of seeing Aragorn's back story is much more positive. I will hope for something great. There are some tragic and powerful events in the Appendices that I've always been sorry were passed over with a few words. Even those hints, once I discovered them, made Aragorn a deeper character for me, especially at his first appearance in LotR. He's not whining at the hobbits because they don't trust him; he's telling them they don't know who and what he is—and they're not ready to know.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Whereas, I am intrigued at the possibilities that Tom could present (in the right hands), but very distrustful of the idea of a "Young Aragorn" series
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Primula Baggins »

It would be hard to judge its fidelity to the original, based on such a sparse sketch. But the details that are there are interesting to me.

Of course, they could certainly make horrible changes, and the risk is greater with less of an existing framework. That's why I said "hope," not "expect."

As for Tom . . . he just doesn't intrigue me. Maybe he should. But I can't get past the meter.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Primula Baggins »

I'm a just leave this here.

How Would You Cast the Lord of the Rings for Television?

(There are some excellent ideas in there, including the overarching one of thinking outside the gender and color boxes.)
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

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I'm surprised by how many of those I really really really like.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

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I am all in for Ricky Whittle as Aragorn, the man is magnificent and I doubt we can get Chris Evans. Also Capaldi as Gandalf and Sung Kang as anything he wants.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Dave_LF »

Lin-Manuel Miranda for Bombadil is inspired. I like Jon Stewart for Bilbo too.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Beutlin »

Those cryptic Twitter posts at least very much indicate that we will get a series set in the late Third Age. It seems I just have to swap out the dwarf character in my fake press release for Bombadil.

All in all, this sounds bad and deeply unoriginal. Amazon will probably produce some direct prelude to the War of the Ring that desperately and constantly tries to emulate the better and worse parts of Jackson's trilogy: Some allusions here, some direct references there, until the last idiot gets it: We are back in "Middle Earth"!

That article from Tor.com I shall not comment in detail. It is safe to say however that it once again reminds the reader that the American capitalistic industrial-entertainment complex has, is, and always will be infused with a myopic but thoroughly totalitarian sense of cultural imperialism, seeking to commodify all art it grasps in the vision of its current false consciousness.
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Beutlin wrote:That article from Tor.com I shall not comment in detail. It is safe to say however that it once again reminds the reader that the American capitalistic industrial-entertainment complex has, is, and always will be infused with a myopic but thoroughly totalitarian sense of cultural imperialism, seeking to commodify all art it grasps in the vision of its current false consciousness.
You do have a way with words, my friend!
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:TheHutt at TORN notes that Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Event Series at Amazon, has tweeted two hints:

Ask your echo “Which character is not affected by the power of the one ring?” #LordOfTheRings
https://twitter.com/SharonTalYguado/sta ... 8204315649

Ask your Echo “who is Aragorn?” #LordOfTheRings
https://twitter.com/SharonTalYguado/sta ... 6426261505

Looks like we will get to meet Old Tom after all, and see Aragorn's back story.
That depends. In Filmverse, the character unaffected by the power of the ring is arguably Aragorn. Just sayin' ;)
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Re: Lord of the Rings series!?

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Good point, Al.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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