BREAKING NEWS: it seems that Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Andy Serkis are all going there and back again, as Warner Bros. today issued an astonishing press release:

WARNER BROS. PICTURES AND NEW LINE CINEMA ARE SET TO REUNITE WITH THE OSCAR WINNING LORD OF THE RINGS AND THE HOBBIT TEAM PETER JACKSON, FRAN WALSH, AND PHILIPPA BOYENS FOR TWO NEW FEATURE FILMS FROM J. R. R. TOLKIEN’S MIDDLE EARTH, TWO-DECADES AFTER THE NEARLY $6 BILLION DOLLAR FILM FRANCHISE WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO AUDIENCES

THE FIRST FILM LORD OF THE RINGSTHE HUNT FOR GOLLUM (*WT) WILL BE DIRECTED BY AND STAR LORD OF THE RINGS ALUMNI ANDY SERKIS
JACKSON, WALSH, AND BOYENS WILL PRODUCE LORD OF THE RINGSTHE HUNT FOR GOLLUM (*WT)WITH WALSH AND BOYENS SET TO WRITE THE SCREENPLAY

Burbank, CA — May 9, 2024 – Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group’s Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy announced today the Oscar-winning team behind the nearly $6 billion blockbuster Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyensare reuniting to produce two new films from Tolkien’s Middle Earth for Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema.

The first of the two films Lord of the RingsThe Hunt for Gollum(*WT)will be directed by and star Andy Serkis (Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle), with Walsh and Boyens set to write the screenplay, along with Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou (Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim). The film will be executive produced by Ken Kamins, with Serkis and The Imaginarium’s Jonathan Cavendish.

Said De Luca and Abdy, “For over two-decades, moviegoers have embraced the Lord of the Rings film trilogy because of the undeniable devotion Peter, Fran and Philippa have shown towards protecting the legacy of Tolkien’s works, and to ensure audiences could experience the incredible world he created in a way that honors his literary vision. We are honored they have agreed be our partners on these two new films. With Andy coming aboard to direct Lord of the RingsThe Hunt for Gollum(*WT), we continue an important commitment to excellence that is a true hallmark of how we all want to venture ahead and further contribute to the Lord of the Rings cinematic history.”

Said Jackson, Walsh and Boyens, “It is an honour and a privilege to travel back to Middle-earth with our good friend and collaborator, Andy Serkis, who has unfinished business with that Stinker – Gollum! As life long fans of Professor Tolkien’s vast mythology, we are proud to be working with Mike De Luca, Pam Abdy and the entire team at Warner Bros. on another epic adventure!”

Said Serkis, ““Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle Earth Peter, Fran and Philippa,” said Serkis.  “With Mike and Pam, and the Warner Bros team on the quest as well, alongside WETA and our film making family in New Zealand, it’s just all too delicious…”.   

The announcement of the new films follows the previously announced New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation’s anime feature film Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim opening this Christmas. Directed by Award winning filmmaker Kenji Kamiyama (Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series), the film is produced by Boyens, Joseph Chou (Blade Runner: Black Lotus), and Jason DeMarco.

The writing team of Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou penned the Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim screenplay based on a script from Jeffrey Addiss & Will Matthews. The Lord of the Rings returning creative team also includes Oscar winners Alan Lee and Richard Taylor, along with esteemed Tolkien illustrator John Howe.

It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Bernard Hill, who brilliantly embodied King Théoden of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He passed away today, May 5, 2024, at the age of 79. Hill’s portrayal of Théoden is etched in the memory of us all, expertly capturing the noble and transformative journey of the Rohan king, from despair to heroic resurgence.

His performance delivered lines that have resonated deeply within all of fandom. Potentially most memorably on the Battle of the Pelennor Fields…”Ride now, ride for ruin, and the world’s ending!” Bernard Hill holds a rather unique record in that he has starred in not one, but two films that grossed over $1 Billion and won 11 Academy Awards each.

While Hill also famously appeared as Captain Edward John Smith in Titanic, his legacy is particularly revered in our community for his role as Théoden, which brought to life a beloved literary character with profound respect and fidelity to the source material. Bernard Hill’s artistic contributions have left an indelible mark, ensuring his memory will live on through his significant impact on film and particularly within the Tolkien legendarium.

The staff at the OneRing.net extend our deepest condolences to Bernard Hill’s family, friends, and colleagues around the world. The cast of the LOTR films are known to be a close-knit family, so here are a few photos of those happy times.

The Cast of The Lord of the Rings won the SAG Ensemble award.
The Return of the King premiere in Westwood, CA in December, 2003 outside the Bruin Theater.

Ever wished you could just move to the Shire, and live an idyllic, Hobbity sort of life? Well, now you can – kind of…

Private Division and Weta Workshop have today shared a trailer for their upcoming sim game, Tales of the Shire: A Lord of the Rings Game. It’s a bucolically blissful as you might expect; see for yourself:

Coming in the second half of 2024, Tales of the Shire will be available for Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam. Here’s what the official press release tell us:

Welcome Home, Hobbit! Private Division and Wētā Workshop Announce Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of the Rings Game

Upcoming cosy The Lord of the Rings game set in the Middle-earth universe inspired by the books of J.R.R. Tolkien arrives later this year

New York, NY – April 22, 2024 – Private Division, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), and Wētā Workshop, known for their work on the world of Middle-earth for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, today revealed Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of the Rings Game, a cosy Hobbit life sim set in the Middle-earth universe of J.R.R. Tolkien. Developed by Wētā Workshop Game Studio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wētā Workshop, Tales of the Shire will launch in the second half of 2024 on the Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam.

In Tales of the Shire, experience the storybook return to Middle-earth’s most inviting region by living life as a Hobbit in the idyllic town of Bywater. Unwind in the breathtaking pastures, visit the townsfolks’ local shops, or even enjoy second breakfast. Help bring the community together and achieve official village status by throwing the greatest Bywater Festival the Shire has ever seen!

“We’re excited to provide players with the opportunity to fulfil their fantasy of living their own humble Hobbit life in the Shire,” said Kelly Tyson, Head of Product at Wētā Workshop. “Tales of the Shire brings a cosy new dimension to the way fans can experience Middle-earth, with plenty of wholesome, Hobbit- centric gameplay to win-over newcomers to the genre.”

Create and personalise a Hobbit with an array of customisations to experience the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved Middle-earth universe your own way. Settle in and decorate a cosy Hobbit home, choosing from an array of furniture and home décor to create your unique, humble abode. Then head outdoors to Bywater for plenty of cooking, fishing, foraging, gardening, and more relaxing activities in the Shire. Toss your lure to catch trout from the glistening waters of Bywater Pool, gather wild mushrooms, and then use the collected ingredients to bake a succulent pie to serve for luncheon. With a full belly, stroll back outside to explore the Shire and build relationships with the Bywater locals by helping them to build a garden, sharing one of the many daily Hobbit meals, and more.

“The team at Wētā Workshop is creating a brilliant representation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved works that gives players the agency to create their own Hobbit experience in Middle-earth,” said Michael Worosz, Chief Strategy Officer, Take-Two Interactive, and Head of Private Division. “Players have been clamoring for a warm and inviting The Lord of the Rings game for years now, and it’s exactly what we’re delivering with Tales of the Shire.”

It’s no surprise that a video game in which Weta Workshop have had a hand should be stunning to look at; here are some screenshots from the game:

Become a Hobbit, decorate your Hobbit hole, and then explore the Shire to your heart’s content; what could be better? Tales of the Shire: A Lord of the Rings Game can’t come soon enough!

In an unexpected journey that rivals Bilbo’s own, TheOneRing.net is thrilled to announce the launch of its very own food truck, bringing the flavors of Middle-earth to the world – well, a portion of the world! Aptly named ‘Middle-earth on Wheels’, the plan is for the food truck to visit conventions and geeky gatherings across America, serving a delectable array of Tolkien-themed treats. Our truck will first appear at NYCC 2024.

The Menu

Inspired by the diverse experiences and tastes of our staff, the menu will vary, with various themes planned, including the seasons in the Shire, spicy dishes of Mordor, and the sumptuous feasts of Rivendell, offering an Elvish twist on classic flavors. The menu to appear at NYCC will include a chicken dish “Amon Hen”; “Salmon Frodo“; “Isengard Unquiched,” “One-ion Rings” (Of course!); and a variety of artisanal bread, so fans can ‘share the loaf.’

Our very own Happy Hobbits, known for their culinary magic making (Check out their YouTube!), will bake fresh bread for each appearance.

But that’s not all – in a revelation as surprising as Gandalf’s fireworks, we can reveal that TORn co-founder Xoanon is not only a master of Middle-earth lore but also a pastry chef extraordinaire, holding the world record for the tallest croquembouche, eerily resembling Barad-dûr, complete with the Lidless Eye, and almost mirroring the height of Weta’s Minas Tirith bigature.

Special Menus and Events

But what of Second Breakfast, you ask? On select days, Middle-earth on Wheels will honor every crucial Hobbit mealtime—Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and Supper—throughout all-day festivals and events. Whether you crave the sweet simplicity of Seedcake for Second Breakfast or the hearty richness of a Minas Tirith Meat Pie for Supper, TORn will have you covered. Dates for these special events will be announced at a later time.

On Tuesdays when Middle-earth on Wheels is on the move, don’t miss Tolkien Taco Tuesday—every purchase of a taco gets you another one on the house!

Why a Food Truck?

Why this culinary quest, you ask? It’s all in an effort to combat the ever-mounting Google Business Apps bill! Yup, they raised their prices…again! As a not-for-profit site powered by volunteer staff, TheOneRing.net relies on the generosity of its community and, perhaps now, the proceeds from its gastronomic ventures.

Don’t miss this chance to feast like a Dwarf, snack like a Hobbit, and dine with the elegance of the Elves. The Middle-earth on Wheels food truck is coming to a location near you. Follow the journey on TheOneRing.net and our social media channels.

Because in the world of Tolkien, even the smallest meal can change the world.

New Line Cinema and Adult Swim’s upcoming anime film spinoff to The Lord of the Rings, titled The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, is still shrouded in mystery even after an industry-only preview last summer. The all-star production, starring Miranda Otto and Brian Cox, is led by Oscar winning LOTR Executive Producer Philippa Boyens and the highly respected production team behind Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

The initial announcement in 2021 listed the Emmy winning writing team behind Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, who spent a year exploring the story. Since then the script has gone through normal retooling, eventually landing a new credited screenwriting duo: Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou.

Billed as the next generation of writers by EP Boyens, childhood friends Phoebe and Arty initially were brought in to write background dialog for the movie. Through the creative process, it became apparent that their youthful perspective – raised on the exploding growth of anime — helped the film’s collaboration with the Japanese director Kenji Kamiyama and animation studio Sola Entertainment. Plus, who better to tell the story of Héra [Editor’s note: the name’s not taken from the Greek, but from the Anglo-saxon] than someone closer in age?

In a brand-new interview with Nerd of the Rings, writers Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou join excecutive producer Philippa Boyens for an in-depth conversation on bringing the history of Rohirrim and Rohan’s shieldmaidens to the big screen. Enjoy this exclusive preview of the conversation, edited for format and clarity, which will be posted in full tomorrow.

Delivering the characters where Kamiyama needs them to be

Q: Tell us a bit about Helm Hammerhand (namesake of Helm’s Deep from The Two Towers)

Phoebe: I find one of the most redeeming qualities of Helm in the film is his love for his children. Sounds a little cheesy but some of my favorite parts of the storytelling is the relationship between Helm and Héra (his daughter and main protagonist of the film). There’s a lot of tension and a lot of conflict there, but you know at the heart there is this deep father-daughter bond. Those moments were really special, writing and working on those. That’s one of my favorite things about Helm: this love for his children. It’s so nice.

How do we as writers deliver the characters to a place that Director Kamiyama want them to be at the end of the film? That was a really fun journey to try and take on, and figure out how to do that.

Q: Did you guys revisit the films before embarking on this?

Phoebe: Didn’t really need to. I grew up with them!

Arty: I grew up around the corner from Weta Workshop. But also growing up in Wellington at that time it was infectious. It was impossible not to be captivated by this huge film being shot in the hills behind you. At night you go to bed and you look up to the hills behind with film lights. Might be normal in other places, but it certainly wasn’t normal in Wellington. It really was just like the coolest thing! My friends and I still watch the movies every Christmas, so it wasn’t a matter of trying to fall back into the world of the cinematic Middle-earth. Here was a really amazing opportunity to try and think about animation and Anime, and how that could bring a fresh look not only visually but also thematically.

Philippa: I remember the hesitation. I thought you guys would turn us down (to write on Rohirrim)!

Arty: The deep respect for what had already been done! It’s stressful because what’s going on here? It’s just what comes with it. There’s these podcasts and bloggers and YouTube channels (looks at Nerd of the Rings) who are going to judge and fly out to your country to meet up with you while you’re trying to finish the film to make sure you’re doing a good job. So that was came with a lot of a lot a lot of trepidation!

Phoebe: For us, we didn’t see foresee that being a problem because so many of the same players are making this film. You have Philippa producing, but you also have the same sound teams. You have Mike Hedges (LOTR). You’ve got Steven Gallagher composing (The Hobbit). You’ve got John Howe, Alan Lee, Richard Taylor. For us, that opened up space to be like, how do we make this blend with the world of anime. It was actually more about coming from that direction. We knew the film was in pretty sick hands!

Q: Well you guys grew up on anime too.

Arty: We grew up not just on anime but Japanese cinema in general. That wasn’t the brief (for Rohirrim) but I was such a fan of different Japanese genre films and directors. It just seemed like, this is such a cool opportunity to draw on a whole bunch of other influences in adapting this material. It ended up going from this is really scary, to wow this is so exciting. Then what sold us completely was seeing some concept art and it was like, oh hell yeah.

It also helped that we happen to be in Covid lockdown in Queenstown, and we’re walking daily by different LOTR film locations. So that probably helped a lot as well to get in the zone.

Phoebe: Yeah we were in the zone!

Q: Did you have any moments like that where you a saw an interesting connection to what has come before?

Arty: What is interesting is re-reading the books. You sort of pick up on different things and like, oh wow, it really is informed by some of these things which took place in the books. Whether at the time we were totally aware of it or not, you know it was just ingrained in us. That’s been interesting.

The full interview with Boyens, Gittins and Papageorgiou

Like what you’re hearing from the writers of the new LOTR film? This spur-of-the-moment opportunity for Matt (Nerd of the Rings) to chat with them during his filming schedule at Weta Workshop was a real treat one the first time these new writers have ever done an interview. The full conversation is 90 minutes on his YouTube channel. Join TORn’s daily active chat about Rohirrim on Discord.

Big thanks to Matt at Nerd of the Rings for sharing his exclusive interview for The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. Watch the entire conversation on YouTube, and join us on TORn Tuesday as Matt talks about landing the interview and other fun facts he learned. War of the Rohirrim releases in December 2024 in theaters worldwide.

TORn’s complete The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim coverage

War of the Rohirrim title logo

Twenty years on from the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, fans continue to celebrate the monumental achievements of Peter Jackson and the team who brought Middle-earth to life. New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) have shared with us a twelve-minute look at the making of LOTR: ROTK pulled from the archives featuring new 4K remastered footage.

Back when midnight openings were a thing, fans around the world lined up to be the first to watch Return of the King in cinemas with heralded hype. The runtime of 3 hours and 21 minutes did not dissuade anyone as book fans knew there was a lot of story to cover, and the DVD releases of the longer Extended Editions had primed audiences for a longer, well-told story. The finale exceeded anyone’s expectations. The Return of the King made $1.1 Billion at the box office, making it the second-highest grossing movie of all time at release. It was still #1 at the box office in its 4th week!

LOTR was destined for greatness from the start, as the story by J.R.R. Tolkien are the highest-selling books of the 20th century and the informal teaser from Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema broke online video records, surpassing downloads of the trailer to Star Wars Episode 1.

Above, Peter Jackson attends TheOneRing.net’s Fellowship of the Ring Oscar Party in 2002. Below, Peter Jackson returns to the 2004 fan party for Return of the King with all the Oscar trophies in hand. Return of the King matched the record for most Oscars ever won by any movie, and is the most-awarded film worldwide of all time.

In addition to the video above from WBHE recognizing Peter Jackson’s achievement, fans are celebrating together with a global watch-along on Sunday December 17 to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Return of the King. Also look out for a new Art of Costume podcast with the award winning costume designer Ngila Dickson.

In the 20 years since its record setting award winning run, The Lord of the Rings films have become the benchmark of filmmaking with just the right balance of practical and digital effects, location and digital shooting, innovation and classical performance, and maintaining a fidelity to the source material while at the same time introducing changes benefiting the medium of film. Fans have made watching these films an annual event, and the wide use of LOTR memes are unsurpassed in quantity and relevance.

Peter Jackson is adored worldwide and fans still enjoy diving into the BTS Appendices on 4K, Bluray and DVD. Now that New Line Cinema has a fresh long-term deal to make new LOTR spinoff movies, could Jackson return to Middle-earth? His producing partner Philippa Boyens is already bringing WAR OF THE ROHIRRIM to cinemas in December 2024, telling the story of Helm Hammerhand and the history of the Rohan Shieldmaidens. Jackson doesn’t need to get back to LOTR after winning Emmy Awards with The Beatles (and directing his first ever music video for them) but, based on the daily conversations happening on our forums and discord, LOTR fans are ready for a trustworthy hand to manage the future of Tolkien’s expanding legendarium.

Before Rotten Tomatoes, TORn had RINGER REVIEWS for fans to share right after watching the film

Happy 20th anniversary to Return of the King, a film that made us all cry (multiple times) by channeling the best of J.R.R. Tolkien and the humanity of his stories. It remains the high water mark of fantasy filmmaking even today.