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Archive for the ‘Studios’ Category

Breaking news from Amazon – Lord of the Rings Original Series

News just in from our friends at Amazon Studios – team JD Payne and Patrick McKay are on board to develop The Lord of the Rings Original Series. Here’s what the press release tells us:

After a long process and extensive search, which involved going to Middle Earth and back, Amazon Studios is thrilled to share the news with fans, elves and the Amazon Prime Video audience everywhere that we have chosen the duo of JD Payne and Patrick McKay to take us on the development journey for The Lord of The Rings.

Of their involvement in The Lord of the Rings, Payne & McKay said: “The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”

Writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have been working together since meeting on the high school debate team more than two decades ago. Their most recent projects include writing Star Trek 4 for Paramount and producer J.J. Abrams, adapting Jungle Cruise for Disney and stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, and setting up their original, 2017 Blacklist drama scriptEscape with Academy Award-nominated producer Mike DeLuca.

Finally, while speculation is human nature, you can trust that when we have more news to share about this journey, we will share it with the world.

Payne and McKay

About The Lord of the Rings Original Series
Based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, Amazon Studios has a multi-season commitment for The Lord of the Rings. The upcoming Amazon Prime Original 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.

Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings novels was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003. Its theatrical adaptations, from New Line Cinema and Director Peter Jackson, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide. With an all-star cast that included Elijah WoodViggo MortensenIan McKellenLiv TylerSean Astin and Orlando BloomThe Lord of the Rings trilogy garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

 

Amazon may tell us that they will share any news when they have it, but rest assured, here at TORn we’ll be speculating all the way through to the first episode and beyond! Stay tuned…

 

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Studios, Television, Tolkien

There is a cornucopia of Tolkien stories coming this year

J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt, soon to be Tolkien

Tolkien fandom finds itself with an embarrassment of riches in 2018. The Tolkien Biopic has wrapped principal photography and is currently in post-production. There will be a new book out featuring Gondolin, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The most recent update about the Amazon Studios’ TV series is now confirmed to be a 5 season commitment. And then word starts to filter through that there are current negotiations for an actual Middle-earth Theme Park.  (more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Rumours Spy News, Silmarillion, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family, Warner Bros.

Is Guillermo Del Toro finally going to bring his Middle-earth to the fans?

When Amazon Studios first announced their big production deal last November for a Lord of the Rings television series, there was just one thing missing, a big name attached to the project. There was no Producer, Showrunner or even a Writer or team of Writers to indicate the direction these stories might take and give confidence to fans that Middle-earth would be in good hands. 

It has been confirmed that the Guillermo Del Toro has signed on with Amazon Studios, in conjunction with his Tequila Gang production company, to Executive Produce and write this iteration of Middle-earth. He brings with him his co-writer, Chuck Hogan from The Strain. Del Toro’s long time manager, Gary Ungar says that they have already begun identifying and sifting through possible stories that exist within the Appendices, separating out those that are more fleshed out in other Tolkien properties. Because the deal with the Tolkien Estate and Trust is still in flux, they are currently only looking at storylines they know won’t be a legal issue so they can get down to writing.  

During that time waiting for The Hobbit project to finally get going, Guillermo Del Toro spent nearly two years breaking down The Hobbit and working with pre-production designs for the story he was helping to craft. His visual style and ability to create wild and very unique looks was one of the reasons fans came to really anticipate Del Toro’s take on Middle-earth. We wanted to see what he would do with the Elves and Dwarves and even Men, and we especially wanted to see what he would have come up with for all the monsters. When he finally had to leave the project because it was dragging on too long waiting for a green light, fans felt a sense of loss and mourned The Hobbit that could have been. 

This is why Del Toro is perfect for this project. He already has a deep knowledge of the source material, including what can and can not be included legally, and he’s got designs that never got the see the light of day. Because Peter Jackson and WETA are not going to be involved in the Amazon Studios production, there is little reason to maintain strict adherence to the design motifs put in place for the various races. The only design features required are within Tolkien’s books, and beyond that, Del Toro will get to finally let loose with his own, distinct look and feel with very little constraint. What will his Numenor look like? Will we see a Northern Kingdom or meet a young Aragorn, as Thorongil, as he journey’s about Middle-earth learning the skills he will later need to become King?  

Amazon has already announced that it will be developing a Lord of the Rings series set before the events of the original films. The company reportedly spent $250 million to acquire the rights alone and, according to that same report, marketing and productions costs for two seasons could raise the investment to $500 million. It is still unclear if these stories will be told in a series of anthology like episodes or story arcs, or if there will be a much wider, more epic scope to the narrative. 

Amazon Studios will produce the series in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, book publishers HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Creations, Director news, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Fool of a Took, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Rumors Spy News, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

Save the date: TORn panel at Wondercon in Anaheim next Sunday morning

Spring is about to roll in, bringing with it longer days, milder temperatures, trees in blossom and flowers bursting out in a riot of color, and the ensuing allergies. Spring also brings Tolkien Reading Day on March 25th, and in Anaheim, California it brings Wondercon, the little sister to San Diego International Comic-con.

This year, we have our panel scheduled on Sunday, March 25th, coinciding with Tolkien Reading day, so do expect some reading of the Professor’s text during the presentation. This will be a round up of all things Middle-earth, as you can tell from the title: “Dispatches from Middle-earth: What’s new with all things Tolkien” Here are the complete details:

Dispatches from Middle-earth: What’s new with all things Tolkien
Sunday March 25, 2018 – – 10:30am-11:30am, North 200B

TORn’s Wondercon schedule

TheOneRing.net staffers discuss new Tolkien projects coming this year and beyond. They will start off with a discussion about the Tolkien Biopic that recently wrapped filming and then head straight into fact, fiction, and rumors surrounding the new Middle-earth stories coming from Amazon Studios. As in previous years, WonderCon coincides with Tolkien Reading Day, so they will be reading snippets of the Professor’s words to further their discussions. Also celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the release of Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

North in the room listing refers to the new North building, which is near the Arena, do make sure to have a map or have looked at one to find the new rooms being used this year. While it is expanding, this convention is still so much smaller, more intimate and easier to navigate than SDCC. Our panel is one of the first on Sunday morning, but parking will still be a bit challenging, so give yourself plenty of time to arrive, find parking and get through security and find us in the new building.

We are still researching and finalizing all the little tidbits that will appear in our presentation. But you can expect a little talk about the 15th anniversary of the release of ROTK, info on the Tolkien biopic that has now wrapped principal photography, and the latest info from Amazon Studios regarding the expansion of the Middle-earth universe. 2018 is shaping up to be a marvelous year for fans of Tolkien, with plenty more to come in the years after.

 

 

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Conventions, Events, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Meet Ups, New Line Cinema, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, Tolkien, WonderCon

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

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.

(more…)

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

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.

(more…)

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

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.

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.

(more…)

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.

New York Comic Con this weekend – a gathering for Middle-earth: Shadow of War fans

New York Comic Con is almost here! Alas, TheOneRing.net won’t be there this year; for a number of reasons, we aren’t able to have our usual booth and party at this NYCC. But don’t despair – it doesn’t mean we’ll never be back! We are hoping to see Ringers take Manhattan again next year – so mark your calendars to moot in the Big Apple 2018.

Meanwhile – for those of you who will be in New York City this coming weekend, there is an event for Middle-earth fans! Our friends at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions are celebrating the Middle-earth: Shadow of War game with a special gathering on Thursday 5th October. Full details can be found here.  We’re told there will be food, drinks, giveaways and more! Even if you’re not a gamer, it seems like a great chance to hang out with some fellow Middle-earth fans. Limited capacity so get there early!

And if you are at New York Comic Con this weekend, please do share with us any Tolkien related sightings or fun. Have a great time!

Posted in Conventions, Events, Fans, Gaming, Meet Ups, NYCC, Studios, Video games, Warner Bros.