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Archive for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Category

Does Amazon’s Middle-earth need a Showrunner? Our Top Ten list.

The recent, completely Unexpected news of new Middle-earth stories coming from Amazon Studios has left Tolkien fandom in a bit of a Party mood. There haven’t been many details about which stories will be told, what the format will be, and who will actually be designing and managing this whole process. Do these Middle-earth stories need a Showrunner, or has Amazon Studios just not announced that they already have someone on the team?

Amazon is purported to have paid between $200 to $250 million just for the rights to the story before any costs for development, talent and production are taken into account. This is considered somewhat risky since there is no concept and no creative leader at the helm, and no characters or story to build upon. The only news to come out since the announcement is that Sir Ian McKellen has said he would be happy to don the Grey, pointy hat again.

We humbly submit our Top Ten list, in alphabetical order, of genre writers and Showrunners for consideration by Amazon Studios, and you, the fans. Do you agree or disagree? Did we miss anyone? Sound off in the discussion section below.  (more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Characters, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien

The Two Towers 15th Anniversary Redux — TORn’s TT Geeky Observations List

Welcome to TORn’s LotR: The Two Towers 15th Anniversary Redux of our TT Geeky Observations Lists.    Last December (2016), we celebrated the FotR 15th Anniversary Redux of our FotR Geeky Observations Lists.   This link will take you to that installment with the explanation of the madness that gives us “the lists!”

With the release of The Two Towers on December 18, 2002, TheOneRing.net’s Movie Discussion Board members continued the fun of gathering geeky observations for our TT list just as we did for FotR and RotK… and eventually for the 3 Hobbit movies; but we have about 11 more years to wait before they get properly reduxed 😉

As it happened with the FotR Geeky Observations List, the TT contributions began with the release of the trailers.  We members poured over every frame and every utterance driven by the excitement of anticipating the movie’s imminent release.  After we eventually got the extended DVD, we could really scrutinize every moment until the TT list grew to 468 items, with more to add!

Here are some examples of observations (lists do not include pictures):

While Sam and Frodo are sleeping and Gollum crawls down the mountain, their backpacks are on the wrong sides.  Frodo is sleeping next to Sam’s backpack and vice versa.

 

 

There is a stool to the left of Théoden’s throne that is brought around to his right and used first by Gríma when the Fellowship arrives and then by Gandalf.

Théodred is buried with his helmet placed at his feet, holding his sword and also holding Simbelmynë in his hands.   Théodred’s bier is made of shields lying across two long spears.

 

As with all of the geeky lists, one of the changes I made to the premise of the original list was to exclude any nit-picky or negative items. Considering everything Peter Jackson and the hundreds of people who made these films possible went through to create these three movies at one time… something never attempted before… I just didn’t think it was right. Those observations were for others to collect.

Because these lists are still active and growing all the time, feel free to share your own observations. Find me on the Boards where you can also access all of these links and more in the footer of my posts on The One Ring Forums Message Boards.

Posted in Creations, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, TORn's Geeky Observations Lists

Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Lot18 Announce “The Lord of The Rings” Wine Collection

Hobbits, Elves and Humans can toast together this Holiday Season!

Lot18 and Warner Bros. Consumer Products unveil the new Lord of the Rings inspired wine collection.

Just in time for holiday merrymaking, Winemaker Lot18 has teamed up with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to produce a limited-edition collection of wine inspired by New Line Cinema’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy.

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Posted in Events, Headlines, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Miscellaneous, Other Merchandise, Shop, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, Warner Bros.

Today in Middle-earth, December 25

The Fellowship leaves RivendellThe following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on December 25th:

  • The Fellowship of the Ring leaves Rivendell at dusk (1418 )

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Posted in Calendar, Creations, Fans, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Today in Middle-earth

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Masters Collections: Gollum

At Comic-Con 2017, our friends at Weta Workshop unveiled one of the most stunning pieces I’ve ever seen. The piece is part of the new Masters Collection, and the character is one we all know quite well: Gollum. This superb piece is a 1:3 mixed media piece with real hair, glass, eyes, translucent skin, clear resin water, and an actual cloth loin cloth. Needless to say this is the best Gollum piece that’s been done. Gollum is limited to only 589 pieces worldwide and comes with a price tag of $1799. Fans that are interested can also use Weta’s handy flex pay system that will help you break this down so you can add this amazing statue into your collections.
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Posted in Andy Serkis, Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Amazon Middle-earth series to shoot in 2019, air in 2020

Our friend, TheHutt, from the TORn discussion forums recently shared some interesting information from German site IGN.com: Amazon has revealed to them that shooting on the new Middle-earth series will begin in 2019, with the goal to begin airing the first episodes in 2020. The  2020 goal is designed to fill the void Game of Thrones will leave after the final season airs, likely now to be in 2019.

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Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Black Friday Extravaganza

As we approach that season of giving you may be looking for a great item for the Middle-earth fan in your life. Our friends at Weta Workshop have some amazing deals for you that should check any box on any fan’s list. We have deals ranging from 2 for $199 1:6 statues to those fantastic Mini-Epics for only $25. Those are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to what you will find on Weta Workshop’s Black Friday Page. They also have deals for other properties they’ve worked on if you have a fan that likes something besides just Middle-earth items. Don’t wait too long though as these deals will end on November 27th at 11:59 pm PST.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Tolkien Rights and the Amazon Television Deal – some insight

In a fascinating article, TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson gives us some invaluable insight into some of the legal wranglings which may have led to this new The Lord of the Rings television series deal:

The announcement that Amazon will be producing a multi-season television series based on The Lord of the Rings has caused much speculation and not a little confusion. One common assumption seems to be that the television rights to the two hobbit novels were sold to United Artists in 1969, when it obtained the production and distribution rights to make film adaptations. (more…)

Posted in Amazon TV series, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.

In historic move, Christopher Tolkien resigns as director of Tolkien Estate

It turns out a “Lord of the Rings” TV series isn’t the biggest Tolkien news of the week or the month or the year.

Christopher Tolkien, son and literary heir of J.R.R. Tolkien, resigned from the Tolkien Estate. And his departure changes everything.

Christopher is 93 and just this year edited and published one of his father’s works “Beren and Luthien,” which as even casual Tolkienites know, refers to his parents with the names of those characters adorning their tombstones.

In the preface of the book he writes, “this is (preemptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” It seems he was planning to retire already. Personally, learning the greatest Tolkien scholar, and a man who has honored his father in an exemplary way, has left the care of his father’s legacy to others feels like reading the end of LOTR where Galadriel, Elrond and the other great elves leave Middle-earth. There is a keen sadness, but admiration and beauty as well.

But even if you aren’t sentimental, he deserves any Tolkien fan’s deep respect. But it bears repeating, this changes everything.

The news reached me by friend Michael Martinez via Twitter on his blog. Martinez has an exceptional mind for Tolkien.

He understood perfectly that Christopher R. Tolkien’s departure signals the end of an era.

“With Christopher’s departure as an officer of the Tolkien Estate (which was incorporated in 2011), the long-awaited “rights frenzy” for Tolkien properties may soon begin,” he wrote.

Yes, and it seemingly has already happened. This is a definite piece of the puzzle of the recent news of the Amazon Video deal. I had heard through rock solid, but not reportable sources several years ago that other members of the estate were much more willing to negotiate J.R.R. Tolkien’s properties while Christopher was far more interested in preserving legacy than money.

The settlement between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate settled an $80 million lawsuit July 3. Part of the statement the studio released at the time was unusually upbeat for an entity that just paid out big money:

“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”

The future mentioned in that statement is this week and beyond, and it was obviously in the works then. According to a U.K. government website, Christopher resigned on Aug. 31. One would expect formal resignations of this nature take time to manage legally, so it also was in the works for some time I suspect. What I wouldn’t give to have been in the room for that passing of the torch.

So in quick fashion, after the seismic change, the estate has sold the television rights for book “The Lord of the Rings.” Warners paid the court dispute so there would be a relationship moving forward and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rewarded both entities handsomely.

Another important thing to note here, and another piece of the puzzle, is that the television rights to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were NOT sold when J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights in 1969. Those rights were for motion pictures. TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson informed our staff about this. She has first-hand documentation and as author of “The Frodo Franchise,” knows this stuff as well as anybody. And obviously you can and should buy her book on Amazon.com. I believe another TORn news article is expected on just this point.

This explains why the estate was so involved in the Amazon deal; they were selling something. It also explains why Middle-earth Enterprises was absent from the latest news. (Correction: This originally said Tolkien Enterprises, a name previously used that is not correct. The story has been updated.)

But the bigger ramifications of all this are far greater than a multi-season Amazon series. The new leadership of the estate seem much more willing to deal Tolkien properties than Christopher was and this confirms my well placed sources.

This opens up Tolkien and Middle-earth as possible franchises in the same way that Harry Potter’s world is a place you can visit at Universal Studios or that Disney will soon have a Star Wars area. There are few properties in the world that can be talked about in the same way as Middle-earth. Warner Bros. see the value and so does Amazon.

That doesn’t mean the Tolkien Estate will move toward making the rights to “Beren And Luthien” available but it does mean my wish to produce “The Silmarillion” as HBO series is slightly less impossible than it was before. That is what has changed really. Things once impossible are now possible.

The estate may elect to only allow more content based solely on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Or they may carefully cultivate the entire library.

Because of the depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, there is a virtually endless fountain of material. As Martinez points out in his blog, what will be produced is essentially fan fiction. As Disney has expanded the Galaxy far-far away, and HBO is planning its growth of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros world, so too could Amazon and Warner Bros expand Middle-earth.

Much of that possibility rests with the estate but just Appendix A in “The Lord of the Rings” offers a wealth of content. The imagination soars with possibilities.

This will no doubt anger many fans and delight many others, as the Amazon deal already has. Some don’t want to see the compromise of the author’s vision. Funny enough, this also seems to have a whole new batch of fans upset because they don’t want Amazon’s product to compromise Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s vision.

The officers of the Tolkien Estate still count among their numbers Tolkien’s youngest child Priscilla Tolkien and other grandchildren in the family.

This is over-long already but a final word on Christopher Tolkien’s departure. Here is a man who is a treasure, and who carries in his heart and mind the voice and essence of his father. The significance of his departure cannot be over stated.

I close with another poignant passage he wrote about his father in the preface of his final contribution to the Tolkien legacy, “Beren and Luthien.”

“In a letter to me on the subject of my mother, written in the year after her death, which was also the year before his own, he wrote of his overwhelming sense of bereavement, and of his wish to have Luthien inscribed beneath her name on the grave. He returned in that letter … to the origin of the tale of Beren and Luthien in a small woodland glade filled with hemlock flowers near Roos in Yorkshire, where she danced; and he said: ‘But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.’

Thank you Christopher Tolkien. We are going to miss you and your strength and determination to contribute to and preserve the legacy of your father.

Posted in Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Studios, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.

Content of Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ series not so mysterious after all

You know that new “The Lord of the Rings,” series that was just announced by not only Amazon Video and Warner Bros. but the Tolkien Estate?
It has everyone on the interwebs with even a passing interest in Middle-earth speculating on the content, imagining how it will tie in to beloved LOTR characters like Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Gandalf and Aragorn. It has even brought “The Silmarillion” to the forefront of the conversation, with people praying to Eru Iluvitar for an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic, sweeping mythology.

However this series cannot be, and will not be, an adaptation of that work because the rights haven’t been sold. The Tolkien family has clearly decided not to do so. So sorry Silmarillioners — yet, some hope yet remains.

The information given to media, and covered widely from Entertainment Weekly to the Associated press to The Hollywood Reporter, uses “Lord of the Rings” seven times in six paragraphs, but then seemingly contradicts that usage with language that also comes directly from the press release.
Lets look:

“Amazon’s LOTR series will be set in Middle-earth and explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.”

So if we made a TV series about the Great Depression in the U.S. (1929 to 1939) but it takes place during World War I (1914 to 1918) is it really about the Great Depression?

“The Lord of the Rings” title’s frequent use is no accident. It is an intentional marketing strategy employed in the press release. PR writers and lawyers deliberately wrote “The Lord of the Rings TV series” as often as possible and hoped the media would echo it and, it worked. But is it true? How is something set before LOTR a LOTR series?

What didn’t make it into most media accounts, but that you can see at the end of the story, is the press release name drops that also mention Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema, the titles of the three movies and book, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom and 17 Academy Awards — including Best Picture.

This will be said over and over between now and when the Amazon series goes live for the first time.

Check the quote again:

“… LOTR series will be set in Middle-earth and explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.”

There they go dropping another book title in the story and then clearly state the series explores NEW story lines that happen BEFORE the book begins. It really can’t be much clearer. The events in the series happen before the book(s) and the Peter Jackson films that adapted them.

More on Jackson later.

A little further down the story comes a quote from a representative of the Tolkien Estate and Trust, from a person almost no potential viewer has heard of but who speaks with the authority of Tolkien.

“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,” Matt Galsor said.

We like that part: “based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

We all know Tolkien’s story has a page one where the story starts. We all know the story ends with THE GRAY HAVENS chapter and the sentence, “He drew a deep breath. “Well, I’m back,” he said.”

So how is this TV series actually a “Lord of the Rings” series that happens before the books begin but also isn’t “The Hobbit” but is based on the author’s original writings?

You may already know. We think of Tolkien selling the story of LOTR but he didn’t. He sold the LOTR as a book, not as a story.

Tolkien managed to get Harper Collins to publish the third part of his “The Lord of the Rings” book with a group of appendices, organized into sections A to F. When Tolkien famously sold the rights of his book(s) to United Artists in 1969, it was about what was between the covers — not the start and finish of the story — and that includes those sections on languages, writing and spelling, calendars and family trees.

But Appendix A and Appendix B aren’t just lists or dates. They offer out what the press release promises, “storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring … based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

So yes, the series will explore the past, perhaps the distant past, before the story of the War of the Ring and yet, it will still be based on the contents between the covers in “The Lord of the Rings.”

****** SPOILER WARNING ******

To save you from running to your copy of the books, here is a brief summary of the material that is legally available for production and is part of what Tolkien sold, the book “The Lord of the Rings” :

APPENDIX A – THE NUMENOREN KINGS

You “Silmarillion” supporters, sad because there is no chance of an adaptation of that book, can keep your candle burning. But it might only be a fools hope. The only content legally available is a recap of the Sil in LOTR. It doesn’t have everything but it has some big stuff. We get three jewels, their theft by Morgoth, his fortress called Thangorodrim, war against him from the baddest Elves, and Luthien Tinuviel and Beren getting a Silmaril from Morgoth’s Iron Crown and more, but all of this is just a smattering from the massive scale story of the Elves and Men.

Numenor and its line of kings that eventually lead to ruin and the scattering of the realms in exile, might work as a multi-season series. If you recall, Appenix A also has the kings of Arnor, Gondor the Dunedain — Aragorn’s people — and the Stewards of Gondor.

Oh and the tale of Aragorn and Arwen.

The history of Rohan is there, as is some of the events leading up to the Dwarves’ mission in “The Hobbit,” films, touched on by them in the three-film adaptation.

So Elves and Men with Dwarves available too if needed. And who can tell the story of the downfall of Men better than an immortal Elf? If I were Amazon, I would lock up Hugo Weaving to a multi-season contract ASAP. He could be the character that holds it all together.

APPENDIX B

Here we find a brief account of the battles in the north during the War of the Ring. It also mentions some wizards and how Gandalf received the Ring of Fire.

We also get some major events of the Second Age dealing with Numenor and the Rings of Power. This content was said to be gathered by none other than Merry, which could provide a narrator to hold the structure together. Is Dom busy?

Thinking this through, it seems probable that the new Amazon series will focus on the kingdom of men and its success and eventual failures, mostly from Appendix A.

Speaking of failures, Deadline reports that Amazon has failed to talk to Jackson and “has not tried to enlist the help of, or even reached out to Peter Jackson.”

PETER JACKSON

In the spirit of full disclosure, Jackson invited me to visit his set for “The Hobbit” films and report on what I saw. He also gave me a lot of access. Some would say that distorts on how I might offer thoughts about his work and his potential work on this project.

Thing is, I can’t fathom that Team Jackson wants to take the reins for the LOTR TV adaptation. I can’t comprehend that he wants to devote more years of his life by returning to Middle-earth. He was hesitant to return for “The Hobbit” and he suffered some backlash for it.

I don’t think he would take the job in either a director’s chair or in a producer’s role.

We can hope other parts of his machine are involved, such as the award-winning Weta Digital and the deeply respected Richard Taylor and his crew at Weta Workshop, but that completely depends on the talent Amazon Video gathers and what they choose to use.

Deadline says Amazon has not tried to enlist the help of, or even reached out to Jackson.

I suspect Amazon, Warner Bros. and the estate want to find somebody fresh.

Amazon Video Lord of the Rings TV series press release by LarryDCurtis on Scribd

Anyway, that is what Amazon is planning to do. And boss Jeff Bezos, one of the most wealthy geeks who ever lived, is willing to spend to make it happen. Join us as we dread and anticipate the latest adaptation of Tolkien’s works.

Posted in Fans, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Uncategorized

It’s Official! Amazon commits to Lord of The Rings TV series

Amazon announced today that they’ve acquired the global TV rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. From the Hollywood Reporter comes further details (note: italics are mine to highlight key words/statements that should give us plenty to discuss in the months and years ahead!):

It’s Official: ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series Gets Multiple-Season Commitment at Amazon
by Lesley Goldberg

It’s official: Amazon Studios is going to make a Lord of the Rings TV series.

The retail giant and streaming outlet announced Monday that it has acquired global television rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise, based on the best-selling novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Amazon has handed out a multiple-season commitment. The Amazon LOTR series will be produced in-house at Amazon Studios alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainment’s New Line Cinema. A writer has not yet been attached.

Amazon’s LOTR series will be set in Middle-earth and explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spinoff series.

“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon’s new head of scripted. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

The news comes 10 days after word leaked that Amazon Studios was exploring a potential TV series based on the fantasy novels and subsequent feature film franchise, which was produced by New Line. The LOTR trilogy was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999.

The news comes four months after Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate settled an $80 million lawsuit after a five-year battle. That happened after Warners offshoot New Line Cinema and the Tolkien estate waged a courtroom battle over profit participation from the film franchise that consisted of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003), as well as 2013 prequel The Hobbit. The property is a multibillion-dollar worldwide franchise.

“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multiseason television series for The Lord of the Rings,” said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. “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.”

Posted in Lord of the Rings, Television

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Rivendell Guard’s Helm and Mini Epics

Last night our friends at Weta Workshop presented collectors with another goodie we can add to our collections. Fans now have the chance to add the Rivendell Guard’s Helm to the growing relaunched 1:4 helm line. Limited to 750 pieces worldwide, this helm isn’t going to last long; and as you can see by the picture, the paint/detail on this piece is really fantastic. Weta also announced one of their fun announcements from Comic-Con has arrived. That’s right! The Mini Epics are here, and the video below even gives you a look at the packaging for these awesome little figures. If you have a loved one who might be interested, these little vinyl figures would make for a pretty fantastic stocking stuffer.
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Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop