LOTR TV adaptation

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File this under OMG!

There are talks underway of doing a GOT-style TV adaptation of LOTR.

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11 ... daptation/
http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11 ... formation/

While I'll believe this will happen when I'm watching the first episode, I have to confess it's a stunning idea. LOTR could be done much more richly and faithfully as a TV adaptation a la GOT than it ever could as a series of movies. I'm also stunned to think that someone is thinking of doing this when ROTK has been out only 14 years.

Other random thoughts.... Casting. I would find it very hard to imagine anyone else playing the parts other than the actors who played them in PJ's version, especially the beloved and immensely talented Ian McKellen. But I'd say the chances of any of those actors coming back for even a prestige TV production are very slim.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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This is very intriguing but my honest reaction is that it is too soon. They do state in the article that they’re negotiating with the Tolkien Estate so could it actually be an adaption of the Silmarillion they’re pursuing?

If it is indeed LOTR they’re adapting it’ll be interesting to see but I’m emotionally attached to the PJ adaptions so not sure if I’d enjoy it. Netflix is developing a live action Witcher series too so we could see some great fantasy shows coming our way soon.
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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If there is going to be a TV series I'd prefer it to be the Simarillion.
If it were the LOTR I'd be making comparisons to the PJ movies, which would be a distraction, to say the least.
And as you noted [Olorin] they probably could not get all the same actors as were in the movies, if for no other reason than by the time it becomes a reality (IF it becomes a reality) some of those actors would have died by then.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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I don't think any of the actors would reprise their roles, and I suspect many of them would think it pointless if it was indeed another adaption of LOTR. If they are going to make another adaption, they need to start from scratch and have a completely new cast and if it goes to HBO I hope it stays away from graphic sexuality. I don't mind this in shows like GOT, although at times it becomes uncomfortable. LOTR was never about mature themes such as sex or drugs, and we don't need to see elves and dwarves and hobbits going at it non stop.
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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When I first saw this news, I was very skeptical.

If I had to guess, I'd say this will not be a LOTR adaptation, nor a Hobbit adaptation. I suspect this will be in that same universe, but new content. All of those movies are still fresh and still making WB money. I don't think they'd want to risk those profits by releasing new adaptations. In fact, a connected story would likely renew sales on the films/products while a reboot would probably cannibalize them.

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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GuardianWolf wrote: Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:58 am When I first saw this news, I was very skeptical.

If I had to guess, I'd say this will not be a LOTR adaptation, nor a Hobbit adaptation. I suspect this will be in that same universe, but new content. All of those movies are still fresh and still making WB money. I don't think they'd want to risk those profits by releasing new adaptations. In fact, a connected story would likely renew sales on the films/products while a reboot would probably cannibalize them.
Good idea. This might be likely. Especially in light of the statement regarding the characters they will or won't be able to use.

While I'm not that invested in PJs actors, my preference would be for the Silmarillion or other stories within lotr ( a bit like where the ME games are moving to)

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BladeCollector wrote: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:16 am I am actually looking forward to see what develops out of this and what potential storylines would come about... are we redoing the LOTR/Hobbit or are we doing some sort of inspired by the novels and its going to be new material??
If it's new, and I mean truly new, i.e. not an adaption of already existing Tolkien works/materials, I'm outta here.
That is all we need..fan-fic stories...omg, just the thought of that is nauseating. :-p
Nope, it's got to be a adaptation, not a new creation, lest the groaning and forehead slaps begin.
Can you say: 'Arwen at Helm's deep?'; or 'Sauron in bodily form at the Morannon'?
Only consider the 'Arwen carrying Frodo to Imladris' fiction (or three quarters of The Hobbit movie) to see how bad it can actually be when someone decides to eagerly pursue his own "creative" bent. God help us.
(That whirring sound you hear is JRRT spinning in his grave. )


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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Lindir wrote: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:00 am... if it goes to HBO I hope it stays away from graphic sexuality....we don't need to see elves and dwarves and hobbits going at it non stop.

Great observation...too funny. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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Deimos wrote: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:30 pm
BladeCollector wrote: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:16 am I am actually looking forward to see what develops out of this and what potential storylines would come about... are we redoing the LOTR/Hobbit or are we doing some sort of inspired by the novels and its going to be new material??
If it's new, and I mean truly new, i.e. not an adaption of already existing Tolkien works/materials, I'm outta here.
That is all we need..fan-fic stories...omg, just the thought of that is nauseating. :-p
Nope, it's got to be a adaptation, not a new creation, lest the groaning and forehead slaps begin.
Can you say: 'Arwen at Helm's deep?'; or 'Sauron in bodily form at the Morannon'?
Only consider the 'Arwen carrying Frodo to Imladris' fiction (or three quarters of The Hobbit movie) to see how bad it can actually be when someone decides to eagerly pursue his own "creative" bent. God help us.
(That whirring sound you hear is JRRT spinning in his grave. )
When I think of new stories, I am thinking of stories that exist in the same universe but are side stories-ish to the overall Middle Earth stories we know. You would get less of Arwen at Helm's deep that way than someone adaptation, with adaptation you take the parts of the original and then do what you wish with the rest.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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BladeCollector wrote: Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:27 am...When I think of new stories, I am thinking of stories that exist in the same universe but are side stories-ish to the overall Middle Earth stories we know. You would get less of Arwen at Helm's deep that way than someone adaptation, with adaptation you take the parts of the original and then do what you wish with the rest.
I dunno....I'd still have some major reservations about it.
And it's the "then do what you wish with the rest" that (imo) is really scary. :O


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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While I love Tolkien's work as a whole, I do feel that adaptation or addition to the lore now is not inherently wrong or even that bad. The additions to the LOTR or Hobbit films are hit and miss, but in some instances it's because the source material (like any form of art) is flawed. Take for example the expansion of Arwen's role in LOTR or the addition of Tauriel to The Hobbit. It's because Tolkien's work is, to put it bluntly, a sausage-fest. There isn't a single female character in The Hobbit novel. I'm not even attempting to be a champion of diversity in stating this---it's just plain weird. I'd like to see new stories mixed with existing lore. There's no need to change the basic rules and mythos of the Tolkien-verse (yes, I used that word...) but something fresh can't hurt. Doesn't hurt what came before, and if it brings new generations in to the fold, I'm all for it.

I agree that, in the wrong hands, adaptation and changes can be awful. We've all seen it. I'm going to hold any judgement until the finished product comes out, though.

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My two cents: no, thank you.

This has a high potential to be mishandled and be a huge black eye for Tolkien's legacy. I get that we'll always have the book and the original movies, but it worries me how a further dilution of this literary work will colour the perception of those that are new to this story. I guess I just wish people would bother picking up a good book and read it these days, rather than seeking the instant gratification that other mediums offer, but I guess I may as well ask the sun to rise in the west at this point. Yes, some will argue that this may increase awareness of the books and make people want to try and give them a read, but let’s not kid ourselves with where attention spans are at these days. Don’t even get me started on that topic.

I would be interested in seeing a faithful adaptation of the Silmarilion, and that's about it.

The myriad problems with the Hobbit movies already stand as an early warning of what happens when you try to stretch a story with needless and badly thought-out filler. The Lord of the Rings movies only suffered from this to a much smaller extent, and there is certainly enough material in the books that was not adapted that could have stretched the entire thing into a fourth movie. However, a TV series? I'm not so sure about the lasting potential without the need to create digressions and artificial deviations from the story. The other thing that bothers me about these rumours is how 'Game of Thrones-style series' has become such an overused cliché these days when extolling the virtues of some half-baked idea for a new series. Just because you call it that, doesn't mean you are going to get lightning to strike twice. I think a lot of people get fooled into thinking that just because GoT is mentioned, that it will automatically translate to this massive success that everyone is going to be hooked on.

Then there are the myriad possibilities behind such lofty claims: if they are merely talking about GoT-level production values, casting choices, budget, costuming, props, writing, etc, then sure, you might be off to a good start at least. However, if you are trying to rope people in with the promise of an HBO-type series that pushes the boundaries in terms of nudity, sex, and graphic violence, then not only are you pandering to the lowest common denominator in viewership who tunes in to watch mostly because the show is 'hardcore', but you are also injecting gratuitous elements that have no place in this world and are just being thrown in for ratings numbers. The third irritant with the whole GoT thing is that Middle-earth is a vastly different world from Westeros on many levels. For those who are not familiar with ME, being drawn to a new show on the promise of it being the new GoT will be in for a huge disappointment when they find there is none of the political intrigue, backstabbing, and revenge plots that go on in that series. Tolkien’s story is much more straightforward and black and white than the vast tapestry of morally ambiguous grey tones that Martin has given us.

Then there’s the speculation about it possibly being stories in Middle-earth that fall outside the scope of the main books. This too has the potential to be disastrous. Who can honestly claim that they can faithfully and competently fill in the gaps left behind by the original author? Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens did that in some places, and I’m hard pressed to find many fans that have a good grasp on the original material that can say that they not only succeeded, but did so with reverence and respect. They did not. Sure they had a good idea here and there, but the vast majority of their inventions and reinterpretations were pure nonsense of the worst kind. Are we prepared to risk an entire series of that kind of adventurous writing? I don’t think I could stomach it.

The only person that truly understands Middle-earth is J.R.R. Tolkien, and possibly to a much lesser extent, his son Christopher. That’s it. To not only think that you can write and produce something that is seamlessly comparable is the very definition of hubris. I’m not saying this because I think Tolkien and his books are perfect, but because without being him, anything you do is not his Middle-earth by default. I simply would not be able to separate that in my mind when viewing a new series, much as I did not while I watched PJ’s movies, and while I greatly enjoyed the latter, they were someone else’s interpretations at best.

Sadly, I think given the massive success of those movies, this is now an all-too tempting cow that is begging to be milked, and since money has a very insidious way of breaking down even the staunchest of principles in people, I’m fairly certain that for good or ill, another version of Middle-earth will be foisted on us sooner rather than later.
This Space for Rent

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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I suppose it's time for me to weigh in, in a bit more detail, now that everyone else has spoken their piece.

My biggest hope for this project, should anything eventuate from it (far from a given), is that it would be an adaptation of the Silmarillion. We already have a good adaptation of LOTR and an OK adaptation of the Hobbit, and I think it is just too soon to revisit either. Certainly, the canonical Hobbit as contained between its covers is too short for the TV treatment, unless it were only to be 2-3 episodes. The Silmarillion has not been done and would be the best suited of the three main titles for a TV adaptation because there is no single through-going story line. Its main stories could each be their own season: Beren and Luthien, the Children of Hurin, etc. A season should not have to be a pre-determined number of episodes but rather should be fitted to how many episodes are necessary to tell the story without excessive invention. This is why a streaming-only platform like Amazon or Netflix would probably be better than something like HBO that resembles more typical TV, since there should be less motivation to fluff it up to a "season." And because the Sil doesn't have a through-going story, it would be a very awkward movie adaptation. It would have to be a set of movies, and the Great Unwashed would not understand why the stories didn't seem to relate that much to each other.

What are the problems adapting The Silmarillion? First and foremost, the Tolkien Estate in the person of CJRT. He is no fan of adaptations, supposedly loathed the PJ movies, and has pretty much said there will be no further movie rights sold while he draws breath. His stance alone makes me doubt the article's veracity when reporting the involvement of the Estate (unless that involvement is limited to repeating, "No, no, and hell no!"). And while the Sil might be the most GOT-like of Tolkien's stories in potential for political intrigues, it is not in a league with GOT in that regard. Anyone expecting any Tolkien adaptation to be like GOT will have to be disappaointed if the adaptation is faithful to the spirit of the books, as there is no sex, violence is more implicit than explicit (though showing it wold not be a big digression), and characters are much more solidly either good or bad. There are not many Jaime Lannisters in Middle-earth!

Also, the Sil is the most impenetrable of the three main works. Tolkien considered it his masterwork and indeed it establishes the universe (literally) and sets the framework for the later books, but due to the way it was written it almost totally lacks the human element that makes the later stories so relatable. There are no tater-loving Sam Gamgees, no acid-tongued Gandalfs, and no nervous Bilbos. And there is almost no dialogue at all. Any adaptation of the Silmarillion would necessarily require a good deal of invention and therefore not meet Val's (or many fans') standards.

Any of these problems probably make the Sil the least likely to be adapted, so it could indeed be LOTR (if anything happens). I am not opposed to it, for several reasons. First, it will be remade, sooner or later, perhaps even with the lifetimes of the older ones among us. Count on it...it will happen sooner or later.

Second, PJ's adaptation should not be thought of as definitive, in the sense that he left no room for anyone to do a better adaptation. When he got things right, he knocked them out of the park but at the same time, when he got things wrong, he really, really got them wrong. Somebody else could make totally different story telling choices even within the limits of three long movies, and possibly make a better adaptation. As I said when I started this thread, LOTR could be done much more richly and faithfully as a TV adaptation than it ever could as a series of movies. We could have the Barrow Downs, the confrontation with the wolves prior to Moria, and so many more elements from the book that are not coming to me right now. The book could easily support a TV series of a certain length with no need for invention (not saying that elements wouldn't necessarily be adapted).

But above all, I think this current development is still too ephemeral for anyone to get their knickers in a twist, either in favor of or against. Many such ideas are never more than pipe dreams, though if Warner is actually behind this, that gives it more potential to proceed. But things can take tons of time. There was talk of a sequel to Blade Runner in the mid-80s as its cult status was becoming established, and when did we get the sequel? 2017. I've been reading for a number of years about an HBO-style adaptation of Asimov's Foundation stories, and so far nothing but talk, as the putative adapters and networks come and go. So all this talk may come to nothing. But if it does, I'm going to keep an open mind and hope for the best.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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Well, the news is official now: http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/90270 ... -the-rings

They've given us an idea of what this entails. Speaking of the head of Scripted Series for Amazon, Sharon Tal Yguado:

“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.”

"Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series."

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Well well well.

Im excited to read that confirmation. Set before FotR - negotiations with Tolkien estate - that is the Silmarillion just not using the term because of the mass of people who either can't get into the book or who are only into the lotr movie.

As for Christopher, well age changes people and in reality, he may not be in charge of the estate anymore for all we know.

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I think if anything, age has only made CJRT more cantankerous. Also, I believe I had read (back when the movies were being made) that his control and wishes for his father's eatate extend beyond his death in perpetuity, for something like 99 years.

I'm not seeing a Silmarillion anywhere in this, but most likely they will be mining the appendices, like PJ did a tiny bit. As they are technically part of the body of work known as LOTR, the rights to adapt that are open to negotiation.
This Space for Rent

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Well, I'm just not sure what to make of this, or how I feel about it. Sure, it could be the Silmarillion as that definitely happens before FOTR, but I'm more inclined to agree with Val and think it's something from the Appendices. If we were to get VEYT lucky, it might include stuff from Unfinished Tales. I'd very much like to see The Hunt for the Ring or The Disaster of the Gladden Fields (though those would be too short for much of a season).

But anyway, who would have thought it, a cinematic return to Middle-earth so soon? New shows, new collectibles, new arguments, er, discussions...it all begins again!
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
This is crazy. I'd been silently awaiting confirmation. GOT-style previously mentioned makes me think they will be following many different characters in overarching storylines that come together at the end of the season (aka LOTR-style).

I wonder how far before the fellowship we're talking?

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First we had multi-movie trilogies, quadrilogies, prequel trilogies, sequel trilogies, now we are in the midst of the era of cinematic universes and TV universes (MCU, DCEU, Arrow-Verse, Marvel Netflix), it only stands to reason that the big wigs want to do this with Middle Earth
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Wow.

This signals a seismic shift in things.

What did I say earlier about money winning out over reverence and preservation? I had hoped that Christopher had done more to secure his father's legacy beyond himself, but I had also heard before that his siblings and other family members were far more willing to sell off bits and pieces of Tolkien's writings because, well... money talks. If one is to look at this objectively, Tolkien himself got the ball rolling by selling the movie rights to LOTR and the Hobbit long ago, but I think he later considered that to be a mistake.

The wolves are at the door. Thankfully I have a sturdy lock on it, and my books to keep me company.

It's not that I don't think that they can't make a decent adaptation of the Silmarilion; it's the desperate drive to forcefully inject modern sensibilities and pandering into everything these days that will ruin a classic work for me. PJ somehow dodged that bullet, but look for a host of characters that will have their gender, race, or sexual orientation selected at random because having elves, dwarves, dragons, balrogs, spiders, orcs, etc, is not inclusive and diverse enough. Tolkien will be (is) derided for his lack of these things in his writing while it is conveniently ignored that his mindset and his work are a product of the times in which the man lived and shaped how he wrote. Are they right? Of course not, but change anything and it is no longer the story we love and grew up with.
This Space for Rent

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Valkrist wrote: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:24 am Wow.

This signals a seismic shift in things.

What did I say earlier about money winning out over reverence and preservation? I had hoped that Christopher had done more to secure his father's legacy beyond himself, but I had also heard before that his siblings and other family members were far more willing to sell off bits and pieces of Tolkien's writings because, well... money talks. If one is to look at this objectively, Tolkien himself got the ball rolling by selling the movie rights to LOTR and the Hobbit long ago, but I think he later considered that to be a mistake.

The wolves are at the door. Thankfully I have a sturdy lock on it, and my books to keep me company.

It's not that I don't think that they can't make a decent adaptation of the Silmarilion; it's the desperate drive to forcefully inject modern sensibilities and pandering into everything these days that will ruin a classic work for me. PJ somehow dodged that bullet, but look for a host of characters that will have their gender, race, or sexual orientation selected at random because having elves, dwarves, dragons, balrogs, spiders, orcs, etc, is not inclusive and diverse enough. Tolkien will be (is) derided for his lack of these things in his writing while it is conveniently ignored that his mindset and his work are a product of the times in which the man lived and shaped how he wrote. Are they right? Of course not, but change anything and it is no longer the story we love and grew up with.
Val, I share your sentiment and belonging to a minority group myself (homosexual male), I also understand why people desire to be represented. However, I don't think everything should be remade to make it more inclusive. Movies like Star Wars where they add in new perspectives with potentially gay characters and strong female leads that doesn't bother me, because the Star Wars universe feels like a natural fit for these themes, although they need to be subtle. With Middle Earth though, I understand why Tauriel was included in the Hobbit, and for me she added a new perspective that was relevant to the story. When I was complaining about GOT last year, the reason I was complaining was because GOT - through the books and the TV show - has chosen to explore such issues as sexuality and race and politics.

However, I agree with you that we don't need to see references to more diverse topics in Middle Earth and I don't think it would be any weaker without it. There will be new material coming - TV shows, movies and books - for people who are looking for entertainment that is very inclusive. For me, if you're ever going to add themes like this to an older work it needs to be true to the spirit of the original work and if the original work is not about social issues such as this then they don't need to be added in my opinion. It is just an opinion, however, and it can be a very delicate issue.

As for this new TV show, if the rights to the Silmarillion are truly up for grabs, I'd honestly much rather PJ tackle it. I'm concerned that this TV show will look and feel cheap, with dreadful acting. That's the worst case scenario for me.
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

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The one thing that I fear and have seen mentioned already is that if this isnt widely successful / profitable than it could mean an early end for other great things to come. I have Amazon Prime and haven't found any of there original content all that appealing. Netflix on the other hand had had some great success with there originals. I just hope that whoever they get to do this is passionate enough about the source material and left well alone to make the story that needs to be told without extra studio execs sticking there crazy ideas where they don't belong. Most of them just see large amounts of profit that can be made from this and if it doesn't that it means that people aren't ready for more Middle Earth. But there is also the Hobbit trilogies that in my opinion fell very flat on my expectations of what PJ and company where capable of and still made a ton of money (so a giant success for the studio). It can really go either way and I'll wait to see it before judging too harshly.

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Beautifully put, Lindir. I was hoping my words wouldn't be misinterpreted and was hesitant even as I wrote them, but I'm glad you understand what I'm trying to say.

Using your example, Star Wars works well because it is an open slate. With Disney expanding and writing new stories as that universe develops, it makes complete sense to be inclusive. With Tolkien's Middle-earth, the problem becomes going back to something that is already firmly established and altering it for the sake of political correctness. It's a fundamental change to the author's vision and I find that wrong, no matter how offended one might be of that original vision's lack of inclusion. As outdated as that world is, I don't think it should be changed for the sake of trying to please everyone, especially when I know that the reasons for that are usually disingenuous and financially motivated to begin with. Money rules all, and as cynical as I may sound, I find the people that decide "let's make this character gay, or that one black" where they weren't before even more cynical because they are doing it not because they are champions of LGBTQ rights or anti-racism, but because it puts more butts in seats, and therefore more money into their pockets. Besides, as you pointed out, there are more than enough outlets available to explore and discuss those issues openly on TV today than to try and shoehorn them into a milieu that did not delve into them. If Middle-earth offends you because Frodo was not a woman, then please read something else and move on; don't shove a reinterpretation down my throat where his gender is changed. I can certainly follow my own advice and not watch that version, but the point is that it shouldn't have been made in the first place because then it stops being Tolkien's work. Write a new story if it bothers you that much.

A delicate issue indeed, but you hit the nail right on the head: if it wasn't Tolkien's intent to go there, what gives anyone else the right to? Tell the story how it was written. There's a reason those books are so popular just the way they are, so how much are those things missed anyway and where does one draw the line?

I know what many are thinking: the cart is way ahead of the horses here. I get that. I'm just bringing up this concern in light of how similar things have trended of late. I could be pleasantly surprised, but the pessimist/realist in me doubts it very much. Like N2 said, we should all wait and see what they come up with before judging too harshly. I'm just preparing myself for the worst so that I can then be pleasantly surprised when it's not that bad. Again, I'm not holding my breath. ;)
This Space for Rent

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I am still too agog over the news of Christopher‘s retirement to say too much more, other than this. I’ve never watched any of Amazon prime’s original content, but I did see one theatrical movie produced by Amazon Studios, the Lost City of Z. I thought the movie was very well done, and it was very highly reviewed, even being mentioned as a best picture contender, although anything released in April has little chance of being remembered by the Academy come voting time.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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One good thing is that television isn't quite the low-budget-second-to-film arena it once was. HBO and Netflix have changed the landscape, so the budget for this will likely be admirable. Also means they might be able to attract some pretty big talent to roles and behind-the-camera positions, too. While I'm skeptical that they could get McKellan, Mortenson, Bloom, or Holm to return for anything more than a painfully awkward cameo, I wouldn't be shocked, either. I'm willing to bet Amazon will make this a flagship of their television offerings which has been a little weak in my opinion. They're going to bet a lot of chips on this.

I'm with you guys in that I don't want this to be inclusive/diverse for the sake of it. If it's not organic, there's no point to it and fans and newbies alike will reject it. However, I'm excited at the prospect for new content in the spirit of Tolkien's work. If that leads to different cultures that were not heavily explored in the books or entirely new characters, then I'm game.

I will point out that the comparison of this to Star Wars is less like apples and oranges and more like apples and apples. The Star Wars fandom was losing its mind when Disney bought Lucasfilm and they were (much more viciously) raging like the debate is here. That they shouldn't make new stories, that the new films should follow the books, etc. I know that the latest gay-inclusion controversy in Star Wars has its author mired in hatemail. Luckily he's a pretty thick-skinned fellow so its bouncing off, but I'm told they range from 'You suck' to outright death threats. Not to mention all of the hate some fanboys have given over black and female main characters in the latest trilogy. It's all about perspective, I suppose. As dedicated as the Tolkien fandom is, I'm hoping that any kind of changes/inclusion in this series doesn't reveal an ugly under belly akin to what the Star Wars fandom has.

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Idril wrote: Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:57 am A friend in Europe has heard the budget will be around a billion dollars. That can't be right - can it?
Depends on how many episodes that's for. It probably also includes the estimated quarter of a billion dollars they paid just for the rights.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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A billion dollars would probably be a multi-series deal (the rough outline of a seven series story arc would be pitched and budgeted for) - But at this early stage these figures being thrown around are pure speculation.

In other news, filming of the significantly lower budget Tolkien biopic is well underway (the Standby Art Director just left it to join us on Thrones) - sometime late next year we should have that to look forward to. The snippets I've heard are sounding exciting!

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I just finished my annual watching of LOTR and was wondering where the time went since these movies came out. Sixteen years since FOTR and fourteen even for ROTK. It just doesn't seem possible.

In any event, it made me think more than a few times about the new venture. I wonder how long it will be before we start to hear solid news about the production? If memory serves, it was the mid to late 1990s when I first heard that PJ was going to do LOTR, and the first one didn't come out until the end of 2001. For the new series, they're estimating 2020 before we see anything. That seems so far off, and given the entertainment industry's track record with announcing projects that never get made, I'd almost consider this vaporware until I actually see something on a screen. Almost, but for the purchase price. Given that Amazon/Bezos paid an estimated quarter billion dollars just for the rights, I'm pretty sure something will get made. But I'd just like to start hearing some news about it.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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When asked in a recent interview, Ian McKellen said he couldn't imagine anyone else playing Gandalf and revealed he would be open to reprising his role if Amazon asked him.

I'm not sure where Gandalf would fit into a new series if it's done about the Appendices since most of the stories he is a part of have already been translated to the screen. Although he's already been in Middle-earth for several centuries at the time of the Hobbit and LOTR, Tolkien didn't say much, if anything, about his travels at other times, so it would all have to be invented. I'm guessing this series is going to focus mostly on a younger Aragorn, though I am praying it doesn't turn into teenage angst crap drama like the totally awful Shannara TV series, or the vomit-inducing Twilight movies. I guess it's a good thing Amazon got a hold of these rights and not the CW. :barf:
This Space for Rent

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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I guess what I was partially getting at in my earlier post is that I wish the producers would just come out and say whether they are going to do totally invented stories or stories based on the Appendices, Unfinished Tales, etc. Then we would know whether to swoon in anticipation or vomit in apprehension.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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There is just so much material that could be mined from the Appendices without even having to touch Unfinished Tales or the Silmarilliion. Let's see...

Appendix A covers Numenor, the Numenoreans realms in exile, the Kings and their stories, the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (somewhat already done in PJ's movie), the kings of Rohan, and the history of the Dwarves. Appendix B is a timeline, which cojuld be used to help flesh out any of the App A stories. App C is Hobbit genealogies; can't imagine them doing to much with those. The remaining appendices would help support the stories from App A.

Anyway, if the series were to be based on material from the Appendices, it could easily be 4-6 seasons of 10 episodes each. If those were successful and interest remained high, they might then be able to work a deal with the estate to adapt stories from Unfinished Tales or The Silmarillion. I'm assuming those are not already on the table, but with the retirement of CJRT, who knows?
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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It won't be anything outside of LOTR. I was told it was going to be a tv series based on the LOTR books. Doing stories from the appendices to fill the gap between LOTR and TH was discussed a long time ago. There was even a brief discussion of a bridge film before The Hobbit films using that material, so I think that is exactly what this series will be.
KRDS

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Nasnandos wrote: Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:56 pm It won't be anything outside of LOTR. I was told it was going to be a tv series based on the LOTR books. Doing stories from the appendices to fill the gap between LOTR and TH was discussed a long time ago. There was even a brief discussion of a bridge film before The Hobbit films using that material, so I think that is exactly what this series will be.
Meh, I'm bored already.

Pretty much what I guessed then - adventures of young Aragorn in Rohan, Gondor, and Umbar, probably with tons more Gollum (please, no more!) as he gets captured in Mirkwood and then wanders into Mordor. Can't think of much else that happened in this time aside from Saruman doing a bunch of research and succumbing to the palantir.
This Space for Rent

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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Seems like this thing is growing in size and ambition: http://www.darkhorizons.com/amazons-lor ... e-seasons/

I don't know why but the word 'spin-off' just sends shivers down my spine, especially when referring to something I revere so much as this property. There was a time on network TV when they tried to spin-off every successful show just to try and milk the cow a little more. Seems like even Tolkien is not immune to that. They are going to do it with GoT, so why not this, right? Can't wait for a sitcom, complete with audience laugh track, about the adventures of Alfrid as the Mrs. Doubtfire of Lake-town. :rolleye:

*cue canned laughter*
This Space for Rent

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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Not a few people (and some on this forum) were habitually annoyed that Christopher Tolkien would not let go of the rights to his father's works, for among other things a "Middle Earth " amusement park. Even one or two of his own kids wanted him to give them up for the money.
So he finally lets go of the rights (to countless woots-woots) and via Jeff Bezos (but it could have been anybody who had the bucks) we get "spin-offs".
And nobody saw this coming? Really?
Be careful what you wish for.
Last edited by Deimos on Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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True, but though 250 million is just pocket change to Bezos, I highly doubt there will not be something coming out of this.

To help bring this even closer to being real in our minds, the followup to these news says that PJ's lawyer is now liasing between him and Amazon to have him produce this series. I'm ok with that to keep it all in the family so long as PJ goes nowhere near the actual writing of this series. The bloat, CGI fest, and head-scratching mess that came with the Hobbit trilogy does not bear repeating. I think PJ and his cronies were suffering from a high degree of burn out and hubris - a deadly combination.
This Space for Rent

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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I guess what I was trying to convey that there is such a total paucity of information about this, even months after it was announced, that I get the impression that Amazon doesn't have clue #1 what it is going to do. I agree that they're not likely to simply shrug off a quarter billion dollar investment, but if they don't get their butts in gear, they'll lose the rights. I think the worst case scenario is that they throw something together at the last minute to keep from losing the rights, and it sucks horribly as a result. I'm thinking about Queen of the Damned, the very ill-conceived followup to the financially and critically successful Interview with the Vampire. It had been over six years, and the rights were about to revert back to Anne Rice, so Warner took not one, but two Anne Rice books and crammed them into one lackluster, forgettable movie. I needn't say how much plot was jettisoned by condensing two books into one average-length movie.

I'm also not sure what I really want out of this Amazon series. When it was first announced, I thought it was simply going to be an episodic serialization of LOTR, a la HBO's Game of Thrones. I loved that idea...anything that the movie trilogy left out or didn't handle properly would now have a chance to be seen. But almost immediately it became clear that they were instead planning something like the old bridge movie idea: cobbling together a story from the Appendices. And I thought, ok, that could work, maybe. If they did not try to tie all those very separate ideas into one through-going storyline, and instead focused on each major story as a season, that might be good. But somehow I doubt they'll take that approach. As Alex Proyas said about his I, Robot movie, there was no way a studio was going to greenlight a movie that mirrored the structure of the Asimov book, which was a collection of previously published short stories with only a few through-going characters, for which he concocted a framing device to tie them together. And I doubt Amazon would simply tell each story as its own season. The directive was "we want the next Game of Thrones," and that strongly suggests a big, sprawling, but unified story.

And we really don't even know what will be used for source materials. If memory serves, it's just a hypothesis that they plan to mine the appendices, as those were contained within the original sale of movie/TV rights in the 60s. But this was an all-new deal. They might have rights to Unfinished Tales. I could get really excited about seeing some of those filmed (though the typical Tale would probably provide only about enough story, without simply massive invention, for a single movie, not a whole season). I imagine it would still only be a pipe dream that they would attempt The Silmarillion. Still, since CJRT stepped down as head of the estate, it's not impossible.

But I think the worst option might be that they simply want to write brand-new stories set in Middle-Earth. Not only would I have no interest in that, I fear for what dreck it could be. Middle-earth is a world with a very thought-out history, and although there are admittedly gaps in that history, or geographic areas where we don't know the history, I think most true fans would prefer adaptations of stories they've loved for decades, vs. all-new stories written by people who are not JRRT. Or phrased another way, we would resent being given some invented pablum in lieu of real stories.

And lastly, there's the Jackson element. Would I like for this series to have a consistent look, and to some extent, feel, as the PJ LOTR trilogy? Absolutely. Do I want PJ and his crew writing it, or even dictating the direction the stories go in? Absolutely not. Regarding The Hobbit, I don't know how much of it was hubris vs. burnout, but I suspect it was strongly skewed toward the hubris end (and this even though I think they way it was expanded was defensible for the purposes of expanding the scope...I found it a little bloated but not horribly). So, if they can employ John Howe and Alan Lee, the Weta Workshop and Weta Digital people, and (dare I dream) Howard Shore, that would set the stage for nirvana (assuming no story fiascoes). But I don't want naked dwarves cavorting in the fountains of Rivendell, or having food-fights, or fart-offs, or whatever. There is plenty of humor baked right into the Hobbit and LOTR books, gentle and generally genteel humor, and nothing based on bodily functions. But even beyond that, as far as story, I think some fresh blood would be good. Del Toro might have provided that for the Hobbit, but from what I heard of his (discarded) ideas, I guess it was mostly good that they were discarded. But if they could find someone who could approach Middle-earth with both confidence and reverence, it would be good. Oh, and knowledge of what it's about. You can get a real mess when people don't understand the work. Read Ursula Le Guin's comments on the TV adaptation of her Earthsea: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/cult ... thsea.html

Oh, and another "last" thing, I wonder what this show will be called? I suspect something cheesy like "Before the Rings" (which would also be inaccurate...unless it were the Sil). I imagine they will want to associate it as strongly as possible with LOTR, for all the Great Unwashed they want to draw in. But if I were to name, I would call it Tales from Middle-earth. A little generic, perhaps, but I like it.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: LOTR TV adaptation

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I agree with all you said.

I wonder if this two-year agreement means they must have the opening credits rolling on the first episode in two-year's time, or simply delivered proof-of-concept of a series that is moving forward in production by then? I know the turnaround times in this industry can be very quick these days, but if anything Tolkien-based is going to get the proper attention and creative investment that it deserves, two years is indeed a razor-thin margin already. Unless they truly are planning to use most of Weta's and Wingnut's existing assets to produce this series, I think they might be seriously underestimating the time it takes to get everything prepared. Granted there was a larger time gap between LOTR and The Hobbit, but even then much of what was utilized in the first trilogy was already gone, sold, missing, or destroyed, necessitating a lot of starting from scratch which, added to deadline pressures from the studio, pushed PJ into overdoing the CGI to the point of having it detract heavily from the movies. Not sure if Amazon knows exactly what they've gotten themselves into, and rather than let the Tolkien Estate laugh all the way to the bank with a cool quarter of million dollars and nothing to show for that money, they might just half-ass it and give us the mess you and I are fearing.
This Space for Rent

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Not at all surprising: http://www.darkhorizons.com/peter-jacks ... gs-return/

It was a given that the mind and talent behind six movies that brought the studios billions in revenue would be asked back, or at the very least, consider placing himself in contention to be asked back.

Honestly, I'm very conflicted about having PJ back. His version of The Lord of the Rings was amazing but not perfect, and I'm not alone in feeling that his second crack at Middle-earth with The Hobbit left a lot of people dissatisfied and disappointed. Yes, we've read about all the deadlines, rushing, unpreparedness, etc, but how much of the blame for the mess that we got (subjective, of course) still has to fall, and deservedly so, at PJ's feet? I think his fatigue with the material was showing, which led to a lot of questionable decisions in the writing and the story. It became more about spectacle and overblown CGI action sequences than the humanity and spirit of Tolkien that we got in the first trilogy. Wherever PJ and his writers deviated from the story to fulfill the studio's requirements for three feature-length movies, The Hobbit went seriously off the rails, and not to a good result: Azog The Undying; Goblin-town amusement park ride; Benny Hill the Brown Wizard; rewritten history and reinvention of the Nazgul; Romeo Kili & Juliet Tauriel; Legolas Jones & the Mirkwood Elves of the Crystal Skull; Laketown ER; Smaug the Golden takes a golden bath; Battle of the Five Kitchen Sinks; etc.

I am ever so grateful for PJ to have given us what he did and paving the way for making it viable for Amazon to even attempt the miraculous feat of wearing down the Rock of Gibraltar... er,.. I mean... Christopher Tolkien, but I think it might be best for all of us and Middle-earth going forward that a fresh mind and pairs of eyes and hands take the reins from him now, and help usher a revitalized return to our favourite world. I don't want more of The Hobbit, and I can't say I trust PJ, Walsh, and Boyens, to get over their hubris and egos, and recognize that not every single choice they've made in these movies has the Midas Touch seal. Sure everyone makes mistakes, and there's no guarantee that a new director/writer coming in will do better than they did, but if the direction The Hobbit movies took is a sign of where PJ will take this new series, then I'll give it a pass and move on.

I wish Jackson all the best and a continued successful and fruitful career, but I hope he picks DC or some other project, and allows his Weta team to go onto this new series with someone else at the helm of the ship.
This Space for Rent

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Olorin wrote: Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:45 am ...if they could find someone who could approach Middle-earth with both confidence and reverence, it would be good. Oh, and knowledge of what it's about. You can get a real mess when people don't understand the work. Read Ursula Le Guin's comments on the TV adaptation of her Earthsea: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/cult ... thsea.html ...
From the linked article:

"I said that although I knew that a film must differ greatly from a book, I hoped they were making no unnecessary changes in the plot or to the characters—a dangerous thing to do, since the books have been known to millions of people for decades. They replied that the TV audience is much larger, and entirely different, and would be unlikely to care about changes to the books' story and characters. " (emphasis added) -- Ursula K. Le Guin ( "How the Sci-Fi channel wrecked my books.")

Since profit is the only motive in any LOTR adaptations (as with the Earthsea adaptation) I think we can accurately predict that the ME to be depicted will have little to no resemblance to Tolkien's ME. On the bright side, I may be dead by the time anything is produced.
Last edited by Deimos on Fri May 11, 2018 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."
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