Last week, Variety reported that a new TV series based on The Lord of the Rings books is being shipped around by Warner Bros. and Amazon has become the front-runner in negotiations. Jeff Bezos, an apparent sci-fi/fantasy nerd, has taken the charge himself in the talks, something practically unheard of for the CEO of Amazon.
(Strap in folks, ‘cause we’re taking a deep dive down that vast, beautiful rabbit hole that is The Lord of the Rings.)
The real question for me is what story will this series tell? The main trilogy and The Hobbit have already been made into movies, so what's left? Well, quite a lot actually. All because J.R.R. Tolkien was a mad genius and created a massive back story for Middle Earth. Most of this history can be found in The Silmarillion, which is a collection of myths and stories that make up the bulk of that history.
If something in The Silmarillion were to be used, I hope it would be something like The War of the Last Alliance. This war ended with the battle that is shown during the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, where Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. The beginnings of this war would be a good choice because it hasn’t really been explored outside of the books. Of course, the video games, Shadow of War, and Shadow of Mordor, have Celebrimbor, who forged the Rings of Power with Sauron, but his private war with Sauron shown in those games definitely didn’t happen.
Also, from a logistical production perspective, not a lot of characters from the movies are alive in this time period. They would really only need to recast Elrond, Galadriel and her husband Celeborn, but they could just cast younger actors since these events take place around 3,00 years before any of the movies.
Another source of stories can be found in the appendices of The Return of the King. Peter Jackson took some of the material already to turn The Hobbit adaptation into a trilogy. But, I would be interested in seeing a series about what’s happening during The War for the Ring. The movies only showed the southern half of this war. At the same time as those events, battles are being waged in the north.
This would be cool because a lot of it would bring back elements introduced in The Hobbit movies. Major battles take place between the men of Dale and the Dwarves of Erebor against the Easterlings. Dale is the city that the people from Laketown rebuild and Bard’s son is now king of, and Erebor, or The Lonely Mountain, has Dain ruling as the King Under the Mountain. The rest of the war in the north involves the Elves being attacked by orcs sent from Dol Guldur, the stronghold where Gandalf was held captive.
The main problem with going back to this time period is that all the Elvish leaders are involved except for Elrond. So, Cate Blanchett, Marton Csokas, and Lee Pace would have to come back. Billy Connolly would also have to come back to play Dain again. If all that could happen, however unlikely, then this series would be crazy.
If Amazon and WB want to avoid all that then they still have a whole wealth of stories vaguely covered in the appendices and tales from The Silmarillion. And I haven’t even mentioned books like The History of Middle-Earth and The Children of Húrin. So, there’s really no telling where this show will go, but no matter what it is, I can’t fucking wait.