It’s Friday 17 May 2024 – and a seismic shift in The Lord of the Rings adaptations has been felt around the world. Here’s all the news you may have missed:

Rings of Power S2 gets a trailer, a date, and a BTS video

Prime Video unveiled season 2 of The Rings of Power at their UPFRONTS, an advertising industry event designed to lure more advertisers to buying commercials during shows. Prime also updated the show’s social media handles from LOTRonPrime to @TheRingsOfPower and released a 3 minute Behind-the-scenes look at S2.

Season 2 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuts Thursday August 29, 2024 with a 3-episode premiere, then settles into weekly episodes for the remaining 5 weeks.

LEGO Barad-Dur tower date and price

The 5,471 piece set is available June 1 for $459.99.

Andy Serkis to direct The Hunt for Gollum movie

The first movie in the new WB LOTR license is The Hunt for Gollum, directed by Andy Serkis, who also will play the character again. Produced by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, with a screenplay by The War of the Rohirrim writers Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou. Read more about how they landed on this particular story in the Legendarium.

In a technical slip up, the automated YouTube and WB copyright system temporarily took down the 15-year-old fan film The Hunt for Gollum, which was back up within hours and is still free to watch.

Rohirrim preview in June while scoring continues remotely

Exec Producer Jason Demarco announced a “big chunk of the film” will be screened at Annecy animation festival in June, and shared a new logo for the movie.

Composer Stephen Gallagher continues to post updates on the scoring of the new Anime LOTR movie coming this December.

Other LOTR news

Middle-earth Enterprises owner Embracer Freemode shared an in-depth interview with CEO Lee Guinchard, where he lays out the strategy going forward to build The Lord of the Rings into a premium, high quality brand that is collaborative and fan-first.

LOTR Executive Producer Mark Ordesky has teamed up with the Blair Witch creators to launch a new fantasy project: an omni-channel disc-world universe with a dice game on Kickstarter.

Black Milk Clothing has finally restocked its official LOTR apparel, including this Arwen dress.

Christopher Lee feature-length documentary, featuring a brand new interview with Peter Jackson, enters its final Blu-ray pre-order days with a Dracula inspired premium box set.

The Hunt for Gollum Producer Peter Jackson has opened up to Deadline on why this story, and this character, are right for this crucial moment to extend a Middle-earth resume that’s reaped $6 billion at the box office. It is a follow-up discussion to the Middle-earth shattering announcement of two new The Lord of the Rings movies from last week.

There’s so much to digest from Deadline’s extended conversation with Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Andy Serkis.

“The Gollum/Sméagol character has always fascinated me because Gollum reflects the worst of human nature, whilst his Sméagol side is, arguably, quite sympathetic. I think he connects with readers and film audiences alike, because there’s a little bit of both of them in all of us. We really want to explore his backstory and delve into those parts of his journey we didn’t have time to cover in the earlier films. It’s too soon to know who will cross his path, but suffice to say we will take our lead from Professor Tolkien.”

Peter Jackson, via Deadline

The new feature film, The Hunt for Gollum (tentative title), seems to be a natural follow up from the writing and producing team behind The War of the Rohirrim. Newcomers Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou wrote Rohirrim under the watchful guidance of Oscar winner (and Phoebe’s mother) Philippa Boyens, and the results have been impressive enough that they are already been engaged to work on this second Middle-earth film.

Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh are not officially involved in Rohirrim, but the activity around Weta from all their old collaborators may have been enough inspiration to get back into the game. Just as his original plan for The Hobbit was to hand off directing duties to someone else, Jackson has brought in Gollum himself Andy Serkis. “Their search for excellence never ends, and now I get to help reach that bar again. It was Philippa who first called me actually and said, look, this is what we’re thinking. And I was just flushed with a sort of, oh my God, I’m going back in there,” says Serkis.

Andy was already shooting his shot early last year, telling BroBible he was ready to come back on one condition: that Jackson is involved.

The Imaginarium production company, founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, will help bring The Hunt for Gollum to life. They previously made Mowgli on Netflix and have three state-of-the-art motion capture studios in London, used on everything from Planet of the Apes movies to Napoleon. Andy is excited to film Gollum with complete mobility and freedom that the latest technology from Apes and Pirates movies now allow, and he is hyping up a more expressive full-body performance for this new iteration of the character.

Andy Serkis has kept busy directing feature films Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Breathe, and Animal Farm. Fans who have watched PJ’s The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Appendices will of course know Serkis was Second Unit Director on The Hobbit films. He has also received accolades playing Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes movies, setting a new standard for digital character performance.

How does The Hunt for Gollum fit with the LOTR trilogy?

“We don’t want this film to be just the fourth film in the trilogy. This film has to work in its own way,” Jackson tells Deadline. “I know there’s plenty of people out there who will be like, oh no, why are they doing this? Why are they going back in? Well, that’s our job. Our job is going to have to be to prove why we think that it’s a good idea.”

So it’s absolutely thrilling to be able to go back and do a deep dive into his world again, and specifically into Gollum’s psychology. I know we’re all interested in investigating on a deeper level who that character is, and on top of that, to be able to direct and hopefully create a film which has its place within the canon, but also something that’s fresh and new and a different approach.”

Jackson confirms the films will shoot in and around New Zealand.

What characters will be in The Hunt for Gollum?

“We are just literally having very early state script discussions and ideas of exactly where and how we’re going to drop anchor with [Gollum] and his journey and how he is or comes into contact with other characters, and the characters that we know and don’t know. So still, I would hate to say anything that’s going to commit us at this point, because it’s literally all up for grabs.”

“We have the right to The Lord of the Rings and the appendices, and that’s it,” says Philippa Boyens. “Fans always get nervous that there’s only so much story that is in there. But look at War of the Rohirrim. It’s a page and a half at first glance in the books. But there are lots of threads in there throughout the book.”

But really, why Gollum?

“Gollum’s story is one of the most compelling to us in terms of a character that we couldn’t go as deeply into as we wanted to before, which sounds strange when you say that, given how familiar he is to everybody,” Boyens told Deadline. Gollum had 34 minutes of screen time in the LOTR trilogy, just above Legolas and Gimli who both have 31 minutes, plus he’s featured in The Hobbit in a big way. According to LOTRProject Gollum is the most-mentioned antagonist in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books. Only eight characters receive more mentions across all the books, and they are all the main heroes. Of course, the data may be skewed because he always coughs his name twice.

Read the whole interview with Andy, Peter, and Philippa at Deadline.

Headline Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic (Getty Images)

As fans in the US no doubt already know, this summer Fathom Events are screening the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings movies! June 8, 9, 10, and then again June 22, 23, 24, Peter Jackson’s trilogy will be screened in AMC, Cinemark and Regal theatres across America.

If, like us, you never miss a chance to see these epic films on the big screen, then we have good news for you: we have 60 pairs of tickets to giveaway! That’s 20 pairs for each of the three movies, to be given away at random to lucky winners in the United States.

To be in with a chance to win, all you need to do is fill in the form below, letting us know which film (and date) you’d like, and your local participating theatre where you’d like to attend. Complete the form by 8pm EST May 15th, and we’ll be in touch if you’re a lucky winner!

The giveaway is now closed; thanks to all who entered! Winners chosen at random will be contacted soon.

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.

We’re delighted to share an exclusive interview from fellow Tolkien fanatic Eirik Bull – a journalist from Norway. He recently sat down with our friend, Weta Workshop’s own Daniel Falconer.

In Eirik’s interview with Daniel they cover a lot of topics, looking at Daniel’s history in working in Tolkien’s amazing world, as seen in Sir Peter Jackson’s brilliant adaptations over 20 years ago. Eirik and our friends at Weta asked us to share this interview – and you can look forward to another interview coming soon, with Sir Richard Taylor. We all hope you enjoy this amazing look at Daniel Falconer’s journey in Middle-earth.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – time spent with Weta Workshop’s Daniel Falconer”

A couple of weeks ago saw those wonderful performances at Radio City Music Hall, of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, with live orchestral accompaniment. Various TORn staffers and friends were there; our friend Constance G. J. Wagner shares her thoughts about the event:

The Two Towers at Radio City Music Hall

February in New York can be wind-whipped and cold  — much like the gusts one experiences when standing before the doors of Meduseld in Rohan.  This is all an artsy way of describing the walk TO Radio City Music Hall In New York City  on February 17th to immerse myself in the “score to screen”  live music performance of Howard Shore’s powerful score for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. However, as cold as it was outside on the streets of Manhattan, the fellowship felt among the audience waiting for the performance to start created warmth and energy that crackled with electric anticipation. When conductor Ludwig Wicki came onstage to begin the show, the walls of Radio City vibrated with a fan-fueled roar of expectation and excitement. It would, they felt, be a night to remember.  

Hearing the score played live, seeing a choir and soloists bring both intimate and epic musical moments to life in real time, is an experience not to be missed. It deepens the depiction of character and the emotional context of the saga as a whole, particularly since this is a shared experience  with all of Middle-earth spread across a 60-foot screen.  

The audience cheered the arrival of each hero’s first appearance on the screen, but also gave rousing applause to soloist Kaitlyn Lusk, who dazzled with lyric, numinous vocals and a glittering golden gown to match.  Equally impressive was the boy soprano soloist who captured the intensity of the battle cry of the Rohirrim with soaring, impossible notes. 

At night’s end, cheers and more cheers for the soloists, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the adult choir — MasterVoices, and the conductor rolled through the audience like a great wave with a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.  

The experience was immersive and impressive and amazing – particularly for those fans whose viewing of the film may have only been on small screens. For this part of Tolkien’s tale to be presented as literally larger than life with sound to rock the soul … well, it is something for the ages.  

Finally, the audience left the theatre filled with anticipation for another round in another year when Return of the King  comes to the screen with its own sights, and sounds … and wonder.  And so to all the musicians who brought Howard Shore’s score to an audience in such brilliant fashion, one can only offer thanks and say: Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo — A star shines on the hour of our meeting.  

The Return of the King in 2025?

The Return of the King is the one movie of the trilogy which was not part of the original performances with orchestra at Radio City Music Hall; so, we’re very much hoping we’ll see that movie presented in 2025! Of course, we’ll let you know as soon as we hear!