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Archive for the ‘Production’ Category

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Khamûl The Easterling Helm

Tonight, fans can add another helm to their growing 1:4 helm collection. This time, it happens to be my favorite Ringwraith design from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Khamûl The Easterling might have been the most unique looking Ringwraith we saw during the entire Dol Guldur sequence, and this highly detailed helm by our friends at Weta Workshop gives you the chance to have a closer look at some of that. Limited to only 750 pieces worldwide, I don’t expect this to last long, and then maybe that will lead to a full 1:6 statue of this awesome looking character.

You can pre-order yours now right here for delivery in early 2018.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, 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.

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

LOTR TV series: some background and more information

Fellowship of the RingAs is to be expected, the internet, our discussion forums, and comments to our story from yesterday are abuzz with the news broken by Variety magazine yesterday of talks between Warner Brothers and Amazon to make a series adaptation based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Since there are many outstanding questions, we thought we’d go back over some of the background related to the movie and television rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as relate some additional information also published yesterday at Deadline Hollywood.

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Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.

Amazon and Warner Bros in talks for new ‘Lord of the Rings’ adaptation

Fellowship of the RingCheck your calendars. This is not, I repeat NOT one of our famous (or infamous) TORn April fools jokes. Variety broke the story tonight that Warner Bros. is in talks with Amazon to develop a series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels! According to Variety, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is personally involved in the negotiations, which are still in the very early stages.

(more…)

Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Production, Return of the King, Studios, The Two Towers, Warner Bros.

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop King of the Dead, Farmer Maggot’s Farm, and Dwarven Helm Pre-Orders

Tonight our friends at Weta Workshop have a trio of new items that fans can add to their collections. These pre-orders cover multiple types of collectibles ranging from mini-statues to the very Hobbit Holes. The mini-statue is the King of the Dead as we saw him during The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This one of course falls in the mini line of statues, but looking at the photos, it is packed with all kinds of details. Not only that, we get what appears to be a new clearish like resin used to create the ghostly look, that the King of the Dead had in the movies. The second item that fans can get is the first Hobbit Hole from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in Farmer Maggot’s own house, which we got a brief look at early in the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The final item comes The Hobbit Trilogy and is one of the very cool designed Erebor Royal Guard Helm. This helm is a limited piece at only 750 pieces so you will want to make sure you snag it soon. The King of the Dead and the Hobbit hole are shipping now. While the Dwarven Helm is shipping early in 2018.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s The Mouth of Sauron on Steed Review

During Comic-Con 2017 our friends at Weta Workshop released what very well may turn out to be a statue of the year contender. The Mouth of Sauron on Steed impressed fans with just how detailed the paint, and pose were, during Comic-Con and now that the production piece has shipped we’re blown away again. Everything about the production piece is superb and equal to the Prototype. After 14 years of waiting for this character to get a full 1:6 statue the wait was without a doubt worth it. You’ll see in the review just how much I love this thing. Limited to just 750 pieces and with a payment plan this is going to be disappearing at retail quite soon.
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Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Return of the King, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Ringwraith of Forod at Dol Guldur Pre-Order

Our friends at Weta Workshop have another fantastic piece launching for pre-order.

This new statue comes from The Hobbit Trilogy and covers the really cool Dol Guldur sequence. Fans have a chance to add another one of those awesome Ringwraith designs we saw during The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The Ringwraith getting the full 1:6th treatment is the Ringwraith of Forod, which fans had a chance to add via the 1:30 scale line for the Dol Guldur sequence. This piece is limited to only 500 pieces worldwide and comes with a price tag of $499.

Fans can use the new payment plan system to make it easier so you don’t miss this limited edition collectible.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s King Thorin on Throne Review

Announced not long after Comic-Con 2017,  King Thorin on Throne gives us a look at Thorin during The Hobbit Trilogies third and final film. This fantastic piece, sculpted by Lindsey Crummett, does a great job of capturing Thorin at the height of his dragon sickness, as well as showing how run down Erebor has become after Smaug’s attack. I really love the detail on this one, from Thorin’s likeness to the detail in his armor. The paint job used to create the run down look is particularly well done, including how the armor looks like metal, uncared for and dirty. With this piece, we also get a new box design, which I think is a great change. For fun I also brought a special guest to this review with the King Thror on Throne.

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Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Richard Armitage, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Isildur Statue Pre-Order

Weta has been on one heck of a roll since SDCC 2017, and they keep things going this October with tonight’s surprise pre-order: yet another piece fans have been hoping would get made, and one that is near the top of this collectors list. Our friends at Weta Workshop have unleashed the stunning Isildur statue! Isildur looks amazing holding The One Ring, but that’s not the only wonderful bit about this statue – you also get the helm of the fallen Sauron at Isuldur’s feet. Limited to 750 pieces, Isildur comes in at $399. I wouldn’t wait very long to place your order, with the new payment plan system now available.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, 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

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Grond Environment Review

Grond is one of the pieces on the list of never-been-made collectibles that our friends at Weta Workshop have now checked off for us. This amazing piece made its first appearance during NYCC a couple years ago, and was also at the last two San Diego Comic-Con’s. After years of waiting, fans were chomping at the bit to order Grond. Now after 15 years of waiting, we fans can have this in our respective collections, and Grond represents yet another home run by Weta Workshop. Limited to 500 pieces worldwide, and currently sitting at low stock, this isn’t gonna last long and as you can see by the pictures below and the review.
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Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Return of the King, NYCC, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop