*Please Note: This was one of TheOneRing.net’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not going anywhere…at least we don’t think we are!*
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN — An official press release is scheduled for tomorrow, but we, the TORn founders and staff, want to notify all those who have supported us for the past 15 years that TheOneRing.net is shutting down.
The final decision was communicated in an all-staff conference call over the weekend, but it has been discussed for months, speculated about for years, and we’ve cracked jokes about it from podiums at conventions (that nobody took seriously at the time), but now the long-dreaded hour is finally upon us.
The four TORn Founders (Erica Challis, Chris Pirrotta, Mike Regina and William Thomas) reached a tentative decision last week, discussed it with Senior Staff (identities top secret), then included world-wide staff, active and inactive, on the weekend conference call.
“We have a real sense of accomplishment that the purpose of the website has been fulfilled,” said Regina on the call. “Erica and I were interested in “some guy” in New Zealand adapting “The Lord of the Rings” into movies, and when Chris and Bill found us it really elevated the effort. The next thing you know it became far more than the hobby we envisioned.”
“It’s the perfect time to go out on a high note, fresh off the recent success of the Hobbit movies and The One Last Party,” said Challis. “It is still our collective baby, but the four of us just feel content that it has run its course. We don’t want to be like a “Transformers” sequel.”
Pirrotta agreed with her, pointing out how much of a commitment 15 years is: “I was in college when this started with time to sit in a computer lab. All of us have jobs and kids and responsibilities now. We stayed true to our vision, didn’t sell the website for millions when offered, and we can all feel good about that.”
Thomas offered more practical reasons: “We made a commitment to not make a profit and to give the money away to charity if we did. We accomplished that and I’m proud that we kept the site pure. Plus, Star Wars is back, so we can all follow our true love again. Remember, TORn was just an ode to The Force dot net anyway.”
Not all staff agreed with the decision and there was a period of open discussion about different ways the site might change hands. While we will not tell the media or general public, we can share with true fans, there were audible sobs during the conference call.
– Selling the site to the highest bidder.
– Giving TORn to Peter Jackson, perhaps on his birthday in October since, after all, what do you get the man who has everything?
– Holding an essay contest with a $25 entry fee and then gifting the site to the essay winner.
– Holding an annual drawing from all registered users, with management of the site going to the first five names drawn.
– Holding a Middle-earth Madness style bracket with staffers names, with the winner owning the site. Unfortunately, there were more than 64 names and it was believed that somehow, Thranduil would manage to win.
Toward the end of the call the staff voted, and by a slim margin the decision was made to shut down the site rather than continue on without the full support and leadership of the founders. In further discussion, however, contending that certain parts of the site were emotionally owned by others, the Sr. Staff won the following concessions from the Founders:
Several writers on staff will collaborate on a book that will be titled: “The Rise and Death of TheOneRing.net.” The final words of the book have already been voted on and approved. “The End,” was agreed upon unanimously.
In addition, certain segments will continue on, but not under TheOneRing.net banner:
The weekly live-stream “TORn Tuesday” will now be called: “Tuesdays.” Cliff will no longer use the name Quickbeam to avoid legal hassles. If Justin chooses not to participate an alternative name may be, “Tuesday’s With Cliffy.”
To avoid pressure from the Tolkien estate, “The Happy Hobbits,” will also change the name to “The Happy Halflings,” and introduce a Dungeons & Dragons flavor.
The TORn Book Club is negotiating with Screen Junkies (“Honest Trailers”) to create a new spinoff show: “Book Junkies.”
The message boards will move to The Pirate Bay and become a repository and center of discussion for fan edits, screen captures, and pirated copies of the films and books.
Facebook will become a digital monument of sorts.
TORn Twitter may continue, but just re-tweeting staffers. Of the Founders, only Regina was aware there even was a Twitter account.
The Staff is now faced with a number of logistical challenges. The collection of gifted movie props, artists proofs and collectibles currently sitting in the TORn warehouse (location undisclosed), must be given back to actors, directors, and the studios.
The “TORn Book of Unknown Tolkien and Jackson Movie Lore” will be burned. The TORn servers and excess t-shirts of various sizes will have to be disposed of. “We’re tossing around the idea of auctioning everything off and donating it to a fund dedicated to reviving the “Firefly” series,” said Regina.
Wingnut Films, Peter Jackson, the Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros. and actors from Peter Jackson’s movies have also been notified. Following the press release tomorrow, the founders and Sr. Staff will be hosting an “Ask Me Anything,” session on Reddit.
INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES TO THE NEWS OF THE END OF TheOneRing.net:
“My plans to film “The History of Middle-earth” series seem a bit empty now. The support between us and TORn over the years has been mutual. They said the 10-volume history set was un-filmable and for the first time, I think maybe it is. I wish you all well, and congrats on knowing when to quit,” – Peter Jackson
“Who? What?” – the Tolkien Estate
“We will have a response for you in four to eight weeks,” – Warner Bros.
“I was grooming my son to take over my spot on staff when ‘The Silmarillion’ is being filmed. Hopefully one day!” – Thorongil
‘It was so hard, organizing The One Last Party and secretly knowing it really was the end of all things. I’m just glad we were able to go out on a high note’. – greendragon, Sr. Staff
Does this mean we can finally let pirated copies of the movies and fan edits run rampant on the message boards? We moderators were getting carpal-tunnel syndrome trying to delete them all. – Altaira, Sr. Staff
“I guess it was inevitable that TORn would have to close down at some point in time, but the staff of this all volunteer website and all our fellow Tolkien fans are family and that won’t be ending any time soon. Our bonds have been forged by the adventures reported on by this very website, at conventions, Oscar parties, costume events, book signings and NZ location tours, we are and will continue to be a fandom to reckon with. Namarie.” – Garfeimao
“My old humor section of the site [Tookish Ticklers] was about to be revived, and now this! What a joke! This whole thing is a joke! And not a funny one!” – Tookish
“Well, I guess the greatest Ian McKellen interview, ever, will never see publication,” – MrCere