VentureBeat sat down with the head of Freemode Embracer, which in 2022 bought the swag of Middle-earth rights long-held by Saul Zaentz, in a wide-ranging conversation about the past, present and future of The Lord of the Rings. In recent weeks, it was announced that Embracer would be split into three companies with one of them temporarily called “Middle-earth Enterprises and Friends” — a nod to the importance of LOTR to this publicly traded standalone company.

Lee Guinchard is wide-eyed and excited about the future of Rings. In the interview he explains the combative legal history of Rings and The Hobbit, where nearly everyone was suing everyone else. But now that bad blood is settled and there is a business effort to allow everyone to play nice, collaborate and create adaptations of Tolkien that are premium.

Also, fans get a couple shout-outs! We here at are excited to be included in any discussions that bring the fan perspective to the table.

During the past 18 months or so, Guinchard started quietly talking to the different parties that matter for The Lord of the Rings franchise, including Peter Jackson’s team, the Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros./New Line and Tolkien fans themselves at places such as The One Ring. Guinchard felt a need to build bridges — as many of the parties fell out with each other at different times in the past — and do his own homework about the market.

He was always a Tolkien fan, but he dug deeper into it than ever before, looking at things Tolkien himself said. And he was not coming at it from the approach of a conglomerate.

“Part of the due diligence was understanding what the map was,” Guinchard said. “Once you get under the hood, the actual rights are easy to understand. I started thinking. Oh God. This opportunity is way bigger than people realize. But it’s not an instant opportunity. You’ve got to look at this for a long time. Look at who the players are. And what can we do, as stewards of it? I had to get my head around what people are playing in and around our sphere.”

– Excerpt from GamesBeat

Its a long and worthwhile read to get a sense of where adaptations of The Lord of the Rings could be headed. Read it at Venturebeat.