One of the most iconic fantasy series is coming to the small screen for the first time.
Last week, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Television and Amazon Studios were in the midst of developing a brand new Lord of the Rings project for the streaming platform.
The Lord of the Rings, originally beloved books by J. R. R. Tolkien, has been adapted several times. The Lord of the Rings spans fantasy, action, adventure, and drama, to name a few genres, and tells covers all walks of life in the fictional Middle-earth. Hobbits, dwarves, wizards, and humankind battle Orcs and an assortment of other evil creatures to keep the One Ring — an omnipotent artifact filled with malevolent power that allows wearers to turn invisible to mortals — out of enemy hands.
Variety notes that Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate have shopped a new adaptation of The Lord of the Rings around, with Amazon as reportedly the “frontrunner” in the process. We’ve speculated over Amazon’s search for its own version of Game of Thrones and which show could ostensibly take up that mantle. Maybe The Lord of the Rings is their real ticket to fantasy genre glory. The series certainly has a dedicated fan following already. The “Lord of the Rings” books themselves are massively popular on their own, but Peter Jackson brought the series to new heights and audiences in the early 2000s with a highly influential trilogy of films starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, and a lot of other actors. Jackson’s films were particularly celebrated for their groundbreaking technical achievements at the time too.
However, Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate have had a falling out of sorts over the years, only recently settling a licensing lawsuit that has been going on since 2012. More often than not, movie culture these days generally dictate a constant barrage of remakes and reboots. And with fantasy being in such high demand these days, it was only a matter of time before The Lord of the Rings received similar treatment.
Getting all those logical reasons out of the way, I’m personally not the most jazzed about this new adaptation. Jackson’s Lord of the Rings has the same level of significance to me as something like Star Wars has for many people. That is, they’re the kind of ‘favorite films’ that exist beyond their technical proficiencies, narrative ambition, and inevitable flaws. So, I can’t say that news of another adaptation fills me with excitement. The feeling is closer to trepidation at this stage.
Each to their own. Maybe someone wants to see the Tom Bombadil stuff that Jackson axed from his adaptation. I’m just not one of those people, and this is coming from someone who’s read the books too. A new Lord of the Rings would also hugely depend on casting (Mortensen is Aragorn!). Still, Amazon has had a good track record with acclaimed series, so they could succeed in adapting Tolkien’s ‘unfilmable’ epic to life. Ideally, this new adaptation of The Lord of the Rings does exactly what Jackson’s movies did for me: it introduces a great fantasy series to a new generation of consumers.