The Lord of the Rings, an Amazon joint


“But Brego wasn’t at the Argonath!”


Cool news. I wonder how long it will take to bring the first season to Prime? I’d have to guess at least 3 years given casting, scripting and production of the scope needed to pull something like this off. So Fall of 2020 for Season One?

I wonder what Age/era they will choose. They could go back to the War of the Last Alliance, when Sauron was defeated the first time. That would encompass the creation of the Rings of Power and the Nazgul. Lots of potential for intrigue, betrayal, conflict between races and eventually an epic struggle against evil. The problem there is hardly any well known characters to tie casual fans into the series. Elrond, Galadriel, maybe Gandalf…that’s it.


I’d be shocked if it didn’t end up in the gap between Hobbit and Fellowship. I wish they’d do earlier, with the legendary stories like Beren and Luthien, but I just can’t see them passing up the chance to use more familiar characters.


Looks like the deal is on and it’s been green lit. The question is: what, exactly, has been green lit?

But there’s a catch, creatively speaking: The series will explore storylines set before the events in the first LOTR novel, The Fellowship of the Ring. In other words: The war to destroy the One Ring as chronicled in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy of films will not be told in the TV version. So this story is either set before The Hobbit or in between The Hobbit and LOTR.

Smart money is WAY BEFORE the Hobbit.


Ewan McGrwgor as a young Gandalf. You saw it here first.


Fassbender is the go-to young Ian McKellen.


And this one, from Variety:

"Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The deal also includes a potential additional spin-off series. The series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment."


Gandalf arrives as the mortal embodiment of an Arch-angel. His mortal form is several THOUSAND years old by the time of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Just how “young” is a “young Gandalf” supposed to be?


Thus the italics. I was going for quotation marks, but I was on mobile.


Hmmm…the inclusion of HarperCollins and New Line would seem to indicate that the rights are at least partially there to tie into the existing movies via characters and events…so that might indicate the time period being considered is between the Hobbit and Fellowship.

I suppose they could start out in the years before The Hobbit, when Sauron had returned to Middle Earth as “The Necromancer” in Dol Guldur. Plenty of strife and mistrust between the races then, and conflict with the forces of evil as Sauron’s power grew and extended outward from Dol Guldur. You’d also have access to more familiar characters, including Gandalf as a recognizable version of himself, Legolas, Dain, Thorin and company, Elrond & Galadriel, Saruman, Radagast, even a young Bard of Laketown, as well as numerous ways to incorporate dwarves, elves, hobbits, etc. into ongoing story threads. If they then worked their way through and past the events of The Hobbit, they would open up the story of Balin’s failed expedition into Moria as well, which could make for some pretty good television!


Their involvement can be justified as much over set designs, costumes and other look and feel elements of cinematic Middle Earth that are very much entrenched in any potential viewers now. I don’t think we need to read in anything about a particular “when” merely because of their involvement in licensing.

Plus, If I am Jeff Bezos, I don’t want any potential rights holder claiming to own something I paid for. I will pay for certainty.

Certainty has a value all on its own.


There’s a lot of time covered by “preceding the events of The Fellowship of the Ring”. You could go all the way back to the creation of the universe!

And if they do go back that far, I hope they study Jeff LaSala’s Silmarillion Primer.


So my question is who is going to show run this, and who is going to write it?

I mean, with Jackson you had a guy with a clear passion and knowledge of the books.

The same could be said of Benioff and Weiss in regards to Game of Thrones.

When you have talented and dedicated people working on essentially passion projects, it shows.

When you hire the next available show runner in Hollywood to steer a franchise, it also shows.

So far, haven’t heard of any actual talent in front of or behind the camera.


The ink isn’t even dry yet. Give 'em a minute.


Pretty great news, overall. I’m glad they are doing this, even though I’m mystified by the decision not to remake the trilogy. It’s one of the best selling books of all time, it can handle multiple screen adaptations.

gollum gollum I disagree - there are characters in LotR that have grey areas and even the mostly-evil of Saruman and Grima Wormtongue is made interesting by the question of sparing or not-sparing their lives.

I also disagree with this, in both directions. I think Martin’s world building is both top notch and the whole point of the books. The characters are excellent and compelling, but you aren’t reading to see what Tirion will come up with next, you are reading to see how the world will turn and how the characters will try to survive it. That the characters are compelling may be the reason you care, but the world is the point of the story. The Lord of the Rings, by contrast, has a very strong narrative with a clear progression from point A to point B (as you said, a book about hiking). Its characters aren’t meant to be compelling in a complex emotional way, but in an archetypal / philosophical way. And they are some of the best archetypes out there, spawning a whole genre of imitations and derivatives. It also has top notch world building, but that’s the quality level that sets it apart as a classic, not the point of the work.

I also think that the two works have one very strong thing in common, which is that the action sequences are primarily off-screen. They spend long moments on the build up, the anticipation before battle, and the consequences, but the battles happen in a blink (except for the Blackwater). If a TV show could get that aspect correct, it would be awesome (like the Balrog sequence in FotR, as opposed to RotK).

I don’t know, maybe a story of Good vs. Evil is exactly what the Zeitgeist is building to… as it did after WWII. It’s interesting that they are not telling the main story, though… I wonder if the lack of female characters was a driving factor, or if they simply didn’t want to compete with the movies. I’m not convinced the brand alone is worth the price.


LOTR’s characters are adequate to Tolkien’s purpose, but as depicted in the book they don’t lend themselves to a great television treatment, IMO. At least if television is mostly about talking-heads scenes, which, Game of Thrones included, it typically is. If on the other hand I am going to watch a camera pan over a CG-rendered Shire or Cirith Ungol, I’d probably rather go back and read the descriptions or play a game with that setting.

As for Martin’s world building, well, if it’s top notch, then Tolkien’s is doubleplus topper notcher. The guy invented whole languages to be the substrate of his setting. There’s a depth there that no other fantasy fiction I have read, except maybe Peake (which I confess I only read incompletely, but which had a dense Dickensian richness), gets even close to. In fact I think the creation of Middle Earth is an act of heroic imagination somewhat on par with the Goldberg Variations or the Sistine Chapel ceiling.


Now we can finally see the adventures of Tom!

Hey! Come derry dol! Hop along, my hearties!
Hobbits! Ponies all! We are fond of parties.
Now let the fun begin! Let us sing together!

Ring a dong! hop along! Fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!


I think we learned in the Hobbit trilogy how much Jackson cared about the book.


Oh I think he started out caring about it a lot (we’re talking Fellowship), but his descent followed quite closely that of any character in possession of a ring of power.


That was pretty dark. Would be compelling if tough to watch. Really enjoyed it though.

I always thought a fully realized tale of Beren and Lúthien would be a good movie (not a TV series though.)

Fake edit:
I did not realize it came out as a standalone bookúthien-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/1328791823/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510660694&sr=8-1&keywords=beren+and+luthien