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.
According to a bulletin published today by the Motion Picture Association of America Classification and Rating Administration, the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will carry an “R” rating for “some violence.” Of course, it’s no news flash that the movie contains violence. The theatrical version’s PG-13 rating came with an advisory for “extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.” So, it’s intriguing to imagine what, exactly, in the EE bridged that gap, especially with only “some violence” to go by. Possible EE spoilers ahead!
San Diego Comic Con 2015 is now in the books, let’s do a little recap for any all things related to Tolkien fandom and TORn. The TORn panel, titled “What’s next for Tolkien Fans?” was on Friday afternoon, and directly after the panel we had our annual Tolkien themed Cosplay photo Op, as seen in the first photo.
The panel itself began at 4pm, but without the snazzy little visual presentation we normally have. The laptop that the presentation was on, and had been operating just 2 hours earlier, decided it was taking the afternoon off. Apparently it helped the panel move along at a quicker pace, leaving plenty of room for questions at the end. So, what was discussed in the panel, what IS next for Tolkien fans? Continue reading “TORn’s SDCC 2015 wrap us”
Brisbane tabloid The Sunday Mail sent writer Neala Johsnon across the pond to New Zealand in June 2013 for a stint on the set of The Hobbit during pick-ups. This article finally popped up in the paper’s mag last weekend.
As The Sunday Mail — especially its longer, feature-style magazine articles — doesn’t really make its way online at all, here’s the article re-typed in full for TORn readers. Beware minor movie spoilers, there are a couple of new lines of movie dialogue below and more information about the situation in the ruins of Dale in the lead up to the final battle. Continue reading “Hobbit’s road comes to an end”
Is the third and final Hobbit movie complete? There is some evidence to suggest it is, as social media folks from Weta Digital say they have finished the long, long job of bringing Middle-earth to the cinema.
From as good a source as a source can be, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” is not only virtually done as you read these words, this is the final day of production on the film. Keeping in mind that New Zealand (where, if you haven’t heard, the films are made) is 16 hours ahead of Hollywood, the following quote comes to TheOneRing.net from the future, Friday morning:
“Today is the day!! The last reel goes out the door tonight.”
We have also learned from two sources that Weta Digital delivered its final shot Thursday night, leaving the final touches on the final reel of the final film. Pure speculation here, but that must be an emotional process, knowing that the great big collection of talent is completing the task it set out to do years before. And for Jackson and those around him, it is definitely the end of an era.
A lot of tired workers at Weta Digital will be getting sleep soon but the filmmakers now begin the job of promoting the film around the world, starting with the world premiere in London.
There is of course the extended edition of the final film, but heading directly to the home video market is different from unfurling a film in a theater. But there you have it folks, this is the last work week for the full post-production team on The Hobbit. Fans will feel an era has ended as well. The original, more speculative article follows below.
Director Peter Jackson – who if you paid careful attention to the latest Hobbit trailers, also directed a trilogy based on The Lord of the Rings – likes to push deadlines and make changes on his films up to the last moment. He was clear at the world premiere of the first Hobbit film about how he literally made changes the night before the premiere.
So is the film finished or is just Weta Digital’s work finished? Or is only a division of Weta Digital’s team finished? Nobody who knows is saying for sure (although we have asked!) but it is very possible “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” has had its finishing digital touches added and is complete. All this inspired by the pen of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Typically the director or some combination of the director, producers and studio work on the film until they nail down its moments, beats and running time. Then the digital team finishes the film, working and polishing as much as time and money allow. With Jackson films, Weta Digital finishes parts way ahead and parts at the very last minute, working with the director closely. Concurrently, the score and sound effects are being mixed into the final finished product.
The film is shot in high frame rate, 3D and sound comes in a variety of format choices at the cinema including the most complicated and best sound: Dolby Atmos. All of these processes take time. In other words, there may still be a lot of details to get done before the film is done, but finished or not, the end is near and it is like twilight on the final day of Middle-earth movie making. Only clips for the inevitable extended edition remain and then, Jackson and company will soon say goodbye to Middle-earth forever.
We finally know Billy Boyd (Pippin from The Lord of the Rings trilogy) will be performing the end credits song for the final film set in Peter Jackson’s cinematic Middle-earth. Warner Bros. have posted their ‘For Your Consideration’ list for “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” listing all the people and categories they want Hollywood to pay attention to come Awards Season. On that list for ‘Best Original Song’ is “The Last Goodbye” written by Billy Boyd, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, and performed by Billy Boyd. It now seems that the use of Pippin’s song “The Edge of Night” in the recently released teaser for the film was a bit of foreshadowing. That song, with the lyrics coming from the last stanza of Tolkien’s ‘A Walking Song’ and the melody written by Billy Boyd himself, demonstrates a great level of empathy on the part of Billy for the melancholic feeling at that point of “The Return of the King”. It seems almost too perfect that Billy should be called upon again to deliver what promises to be a very emotional and fitting ending to all things Middle-earth. And because it’s fun to speculate, you will notice 15 other categories listed ‘For Your Consideration’ on that list, many names familiar to us all. Who do you think might get a nomination this Awards Season?