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)

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”

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!

Last Thursday our friends at Weta Workshop revealed one of their most beautiful environments, The Grey Havens is up for order. This piece captures the beauty and emotion of the Grey Havens perfectly.

Like all previous limited edition pieces, fans have a two-week window to place their order, with pre-orders closing on February 8th at 4 PM PST. The Grey Havens piece is available via pre-order for $799, and it is expected to ship at the end of this year.

Two further pieces Weta Workshop announced are for all fans of The Return of the King coronation sequence. From Weta Workshops classic series, representing that beautiful scene from the film, fans can now pre-order the awesome-looking King Aragorn and the stunning Coronation Arwen right now for $399 each.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Grey Havens, King Aragorn, and Coronation Arwen”

It has been fifty years since the Professor sailed into the West, and the Tolkienverse is still thriving. Which is great news for any who wish to pass along the passion as part of their holiday gift-giving, or perhaps pass along that personal hint to your favorite Father Christmas. It’s time for the OneRing staff to gather our collective guidance and bring you our annual Holiday Gift-Giving Guide: the Middle-earth Edition! We’ve pored over a lengthy lineup, narrowing our recommendations down to twelve, one for each day that you and your true love may be mingling under the proverbial pear tree. May you find your Arkenstone somewhere on the list!

For book lovers
  1. Let’s start with something to warm every book purist’s heart: The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Revised and Expanded Edition. This is probably the consensus number one pick across all of our TORn staff Fellowship. Just released on November 14, and available broadly from your favorite source for books, this updated edition sees Humphrey Carpenter going back to his original typescripts and notes, restoring more than 150 letters that were excised from the 1981 edition to achieve what was then deemed a “publishable length.” Fortunately our appetite continues to grow for more content on Tolkien and his world in general, and especially commentary on his writings. Anyone for an expanded “Letter 131”, hearing more about a plot summary of the entirety of The Lord of the Rings, or getting Tolkien’s vision for publishing his “Tales of the Three Ages”?

2. Our senior staff member greendragon tends to split her time between America and her home in Scotland, which also boasts one of her favorite sources for unique and beautiful Tolkien-themed gifts: Oscha Slings. And Oscha has just released a number of new items on their website. greendragon enthuses: “In past years, I’ve picked one of their shawls and a throw as gifts; this year, however, I’m excited because their clothing line is back!  The Oscha Wear range includes t-shirts, hoodies, and more, in a variety of sizes and styles – and there is even a range of baby grows! Oscha’s woven pieces are incredible, and are an investment; but now you can add some of their stunning designs to your wardrobe at a lower price point. T-shirts for all the Middle-earth fans in your life this holiday season!  (If you ARE up for splurging, to treat yourself or that special someone, check out Oscha’s new Imladris design. I still haven’t picked my jaw up off the floor, after seeing this…)” And don’t forget to check out their Middle-earth Mug collection!

Collectibles

3. It’s the 20th anniversary of The Return of the King! We’ve even got some staffers – such as deej and Madeye Gamgee – heading to the Land of the Long White Cloud next month in search of Kiwi celebrations. But those are a bit tough to fit into a stocking. No fear! New Zealand Post has once again got you covered. Having already marked the last two years with commemorative collectibles celebrating The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, they’re now ready to help you complete the set! Check out some amazing RotK pieces – coins, stamps and pins – that will put you in the mood to celebrate the Days of the King!  Beautiful stamps show images from the final movie in the trilogy, complete with ‘hidden messages’ – an iconic line from the film hidden in each design. Or along with some of us staffers, you might prefer to receive for the holiday season a set of the stunning coins. There are four in total, depicting Meduseld, Gondor, the Beacons, and Gandalf crowning Aragorn. They tie together beautifully as a set, and would be a wonderful addition to any collection. 

4. Staffer Justin has been enthusing lately about Wizards of the Coast’s entry into Middle-earth through its massively popular Magic: the Gathering line.  Last June the Wizards released a highly anticipated The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set. For gamers, the “Universes Beyond” card set has integrated Magic’s deep and strategic game-play with settings from Middle-earth (and not just the movies). With the holidays upon us, November 3 saw a new release to expand the set, including a special collection of four Scene Boxes that portray iconic LotR moments, each scene combining six borderless cards that together create a large scene that you can display on the included easel. New booster packs offer the chance to score alternative art, courtesy of the classic 70’s era Hildebrandt brothers, or some very funky “poster art” cards that have some of us humming The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins as we open our boosters.  Fun!

5. The OneRing’s “Collecting the Precious” champion, Elessar, has passed along a couple of favorite gift-giving treasure troves, starting with our friends at Weta Workshop. Weta has been prolific with a host of new offerings aligned with the 20th anniversary of the PJ films, and you can find an array of figures, environments, prop replicas, t-shirts, art posters, etc. on their site. Elessar has highlighted a collection of them designed to fit many budgets, from new entries in Weta’s mini-epic and mini-statue lines like the King of the Dead, Sauron and Treebeard; to additions to their classic figures like a stunning Gondorian Fountain Guard; all the way to the threatening new environment, The Black Gate. Plus, Weta typically offers some great Black Friday promotions, so keep an eye out!

Toys

6. Elessar has also had his eye on a growing list of companies offering new Lord of the Rings lines, like Diamond Select Toys. You’ll find dioramas (like Aragorn), a collection of blind box mini-figures, and action figures galore (like a Nazgûl) on their site. Plus they have some terrific new offerings that you can pre-order now for delivery in early 2024. (I would be remiss should I fail to mention my man Sam in that lineup.)

7. Judging from our social media feeds as well as our own obsessions on the OneRing staff, Rivendell has been a glorious new addition to the Lego Lord of the Rings universe. Boasting 3 stunning sections, 15 mini-figures, and over 6,000 pieces, you’ll need (and want) to find a generous space in your home to keep Elrond and company on permanent display. Bonus points for any who add on one of the special lighting kits available from multiple vendors like Lighttailing and Light My Bricks.

8. It’s back to the books for Madeye Gamgee, this time with a glorious new edition of The Hobbit. Published in September, the book features over 50 sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien himself and with the complete text printed in two colors. The additional art pieces from the author – although exhibited and published elsewhere – have never appeared within the pages of the book itself. You can find the hardback edition broadly, or for a book this beautiful, you may want to splurge on the special deluxe boxed edition, which comes with two poster-size, fold-out maps revealing all the detail of Thror’s Map and Wilderland, an illustrated 88-page booklet, and a printed art card reproducing Tolkien’s original dust jacket painting.

9. Staffer Mithril has some kingly gifts to suggest. First up is the Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck from Insight Editions.  Written by Casey Gilly and illustrated by Tomás Hijo, Mithril describes this as “like getting a mini gallery of art and a Palantír in a box.” It’s available at HerUniverse.com and on Amazon.  If you’re in the mood for some Middle-earth inspired ornamentation on a more standard card deck, take a spin over to the King’s Wild Project or Theory11 for some amazing embellishments for poker night.

Jewelry

10. Our friends at Badali Jewelry have expanded their licensed offerings to a multiverse of fandoms, but their Middle-earth collection has always been like the Three-Farthing Stone in the Shire: right at the center. Check out their array of offerings like the Arkenstone, Shieldmaiden earrings, or their Palantir Locket.  Staffer Mithril is a particular fan of their latest line of the Nine “Rings of Men”, with notable affection for the Ring of Númenor. Pick out your own Ring of Power! Captivate your friends! Watch out for shieldmaidens with swords!

Clothing

11. Staffer Tanya keeps an eye out for sources of attire fit for hobbits, elves, Rohirrim, and  other Middle-earth denizens.  Three in particular have caught her eye and heart this year. She writes of Linennaive as offering “several options for Hobbit costuming, focusing on creating dresses using natural fibers. It currently has a Black Friday sale at its website, which assists with the slightly higher pricing for quality work.” Next up is Holy Clothing, a regular shopping spot for my own Rosie. Tanya writes that they’re “an ethical clothing brand out of Asia that pays their tailors fair wages, and gives 15% of their profits to charities. They have dresses named ‘Arwen,’ ‘Eowyn,’ and ‘Tauriel,’ and I admit I am eyeing up this excellent cloak for my own Christmas list.”  The final entry on Tanya’s shopping list is Scarlet Darkness: “they have a variety of extremely affordable outfit options that are still perfectly acceptable at, say, a congregation of Elves at DragonCon, or your local renfest. (I might have used this site for DragonCon myself!) The pricing is very fair, and the quality holds up through all your Hobbit parties or journeys into the west.”  Another clothing site option you may want to check out comes from Mithril: Her Universe, which has a new line of Middle-earth fashion.  “Their clothes have great details and are always high quality and comfy to wear. Check out this Fellowship Cardigan. With both front and back filled with LotR graphics, it would be great for cozying up by the hearth in style.”

Her Universe Galadriel dress

12. Rounding out our “Durin’s Dozen” in this Holiday treasure trove is a unique gift spotted by one of our OneRing founders, Calisuri: a set of four pewter shot glasses each attired as one of our favorite hobbits!  From Nemesis Now, and available from a number of sources, including Walmart and Amazon, the glasses come in an attractive gift box. And while they won’t hold a full pint, you still might consider getting one!

13. Ok fine. How about a “Barliman’s Dozen” then. We’ll add one more bonus entry to this year’s list, particularly fit for any fan with knitting needle facility: The Fellowship of the Knits book. Who couldn’t use a handy set of “Watchful Eye” mittens this winter? Or a “You Shawl Not Pass”? Thanks again to Mithril for the suggestion – it might be worth learning to knit!

We’re just skimming the surface, folks. You can also check out an array of additional options for the Silmarillion-smitten loved ones in your life, from next year’s classic Tolkien calendars to art prints by TORn’s good friends Jay Johnstone, Donato Giancola, Justin Gerard, Jerry Vandersteldt, Jenny Dolfen, and the CaveGeek. The Shire Post Mint has a whimsical collection of coins from all across Middle-earth, and the Hero’s Armory is your source for some very stylish Middle-earth fashion, from socks to neckties to cufflinks and tie clips. You may just want to soak in the bath with a rubber duck version of your favorite LotR hero (or villain) from TUBBZ. Our friends at Sideshow and Asmus boast some terrific Middle-earth offerings, and you can even find some versions for your littlest Tolkien fans-in-training from the Fisher-Price Little People Collection. Or why not launch out into the artist and maker world of Etsy – who knows what you might discover? Maybe a set of silverware with engraved LotR quotes? Or a One Fire Ring to Rule them All?

Happy hunting, and happiest of holidays from all your friends at TheOneRing.net!