back to article Amazon to make multiple Lord of the Rings prequel TV series

Amazon's television limb has announced it will make multiple series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Lord of The Rings. The company says it has “acquired the global television rights” to the books and has made a “multi-season commitment” to the property Amazon doesn't plan to remake LoTR itself. Instead the company says it will …

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  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Running up stairways of falling rocks

    The Peter Jackson series of movies were popular because they were entertainingly terrible on an epic level never seen before. It was like Jackson was boasting, "Yo, Raimi. This is how it's done! <mic drop>" It was all fun but I don't want to see another Tolkien-inspired movie for at least another decade.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

      You won't have to. The books are all used up, time to get some writers in here and brainstorm some new plots!

      Okay, the Silmarillion is rather dry base material, but hey, that never stopped them before! I foresee an endless string of mini-plots revolving around elf-dwarf sex scandals, fear-mongering about new wyrms from the north, and all those swarthy eastern immigrants showing up unbidden.

      Many episodes can be built around such mundane things as Gandalf's annoying pipe weed snobbery, Gimli's out-of-control quaffing habit, Aragorn's racy past coming back to bite him, and Sam's unrequited hobbit-love for Frodo. And let's not even talk about Tom Bombadil!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

        Game of Thrones is wildly succesfull

        It has swords and dragons

        Tolkien has swords and dragons

        ... therefore ...

        1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

          Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

          Nah, tits and dragons, tits.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

            Dragons with tits?

            Now you're talking.

            Rule 34.

            1. Swiss Anton
              Joke

              Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

              "Dragons with tits? ...."

              That's the mother-in-law.

          2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks @phil

            Nah, tits and dragons, tits.

            Filmed on location on the Paps of Jura.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paps_of_Jura

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

          So make The Wheel of Time instead? Oh wait, Sony TV are already ahead of Amazon there. Shame that the world's second highest-selling fantasy series is being made by a rival, eh?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

            "And let's not even talk about Tom Bombadil!"

            Please don't. I've often wondered what the author was smoking when he came up with that particular atrocity.

            1. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

              Plenty of scope for Bomadil stories - his eco friendly nature will tick a few boxes, and his general a bit foolish and not suited for complex mental tasks also has political resonance with US and UK political figures - though his general well meaning incorruptibility would not resonate politically.

              1. david bates

                Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                While Bombadil is deeply annoying what actually IS he?

                Theres a massive backstory there (unless its covered in the books I couldn't get through). A being who resists the power of the ring utterly, commands nature and dark spirits, but is not all-powerful?

                I'd like to know more.

                1. Teiwaz Silver badge

                  Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                  While Bombadil is deeply annoying what actually IS he?

                  I've always gotten him confused with Tom of Finland....

                  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

                    Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                    Tom of Finland

                    Possibly not the "lord of the rings" that Amazon are thinking of...

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                  "While Bombadil is deeply annoying what actually IS he?"

                  Not a definitive answer but a plausible suggestion here:

                  http://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/bombadil.html

                  1. steward
                    Facepalm

                    Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                    From the cas.unt.edu link: "Tom is "the nature deity par excellence""

                    Yes, that's exactly what he is - the oldest of all old things. Some of Tolkien's other writings show he can be a trickster as well (actually, making the ring disappear is a pretty good trick in FTR.)

                    Tom is the Puck.

                    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                      Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                      Yes, that's exactly what he is - the oldest of all old things.

                      Then where the f*** is he in Quenta Silmarilion?

                      IMHO, it would be more fun (but a lot of lawsuits too) if someone does "The Last RingBearer" with a proper budget.

              2. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

                Plenty of scope for Bomadil stories

                They'd make a right song and dance out of it.

            2. Lyndon Hills 1

              Tom Bombadil

              see Bored of the rings for what the Harvard Lampoon made of Tim Benzedrino. IIRC it involved mushrooms not smokeables.

              Also filmed .

          2. Rafael #872397

            Re: second highest-selling fantasy series

            Harry Potter? Just buy it and create a mix fantasy+magic+fake reality TV show. Just retcon the hell out of it to make the characters more relatable to certain audiences.

            Next week:

            Ron: Snape is such a bastard!

            Hermione: I totally saw him spitting in your potions.

            (camera shows Harry scratching his back with his wand)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: second highest-selling fantasy series

              > "...camera shows Harry scratching his back with his wand..."

              And scratching his stubble with his other hand.

            2. hplasm Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: second highest-selling fantasy series

              "...Harry scratching his back with his wand..."

              That's just showing off...

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: second highest-selling fantasy series

                ""...Harry scratching his back with his wand..."

                That's just showing off..."

                Hows that? Can't you do it like everyone else?

          3. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

            Oh wait, Sony TV are already ahead of Amazon there.

            Yeah, but it'll only be of interest to those into the spanking fetish scene...

            I'm kind of looking forward to it.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
              Devil

              Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

              Teiwaz,

              Spanking you say? Then LotR has already got you covered.

              Sauron and Saruman have got whips and dungeons.

              And have you not read the chapter, 50 Shades of the Grey Havens?

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

        I foresee an endless string of mini-plots revolving around elf-dwarf sex scandals, fear-mongering about new wyrms from the north, and all those swarthy eastern immigrants showing up unbidden.

        Many shows can be built around such mundane things as Gandalf's annoying pipe weed snobbery, Gimli's out-of-control quaffing habit, Aragorn's racy past coming back to bite him, and Sam's unrequited love for Frodo. It's gonna be great!

        So you're saying that the new series will be based on LOTR fan fiction? ☺

      3. sawatts

        Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

        The books are all used up

        Nonsense - you are forgetting the Appendices! A to F -- there's six seasons worth of material for you. Just needs a bit of padding, some random love polygons, subplots about cute orc babies, and so on...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

      "The Peter Jackson series of movies were popular because they were entertainingly terrible on an epic level never seen before."

      I enjoyed it. Maybe it's because it's over 40 years since I read LOTR or maybe I just accept you can't always do book to film 100% accurately for many, many reasons.

      1. jabuzz

        Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

        While you can't always do book to fill 100% accurately you can do better than Jackson did. A confusing messed up impossible flight from the shire, that requires the extended edition DVD/BlueRay to remotely make sense. Aragon going from being a character full of purpose to one full of self doubt. A insane wobbly column in Moria and an Elvish army turning up out of the blue in Helms Deep are probably the deepest grievances one has with Jackson's effort. Also the elf/dwarf love story in The Hobbit, what the f'ing hell was that about.

        You can do a much better adaptation than Jackson did. However it requires you to accept you are not better than the original author and bury any "artsy" tendencies you have that force you to make up shit because you have to have some way of expressing your creative desires.

        To see how it can be done properly one just points to the BBC Radio adaptation of LotR's.

    3. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

      I agree that The Hobbit films had too many ludicrous over-extended scenes that felt a little too much as though they were really just set-ups for tie-in computer games (Escape from the Goblins’ Dungeon, Barrel Rider II, Molten Caramel Tea-Tray Racer, …), and it was certainly too much stretched out by at least one film, but The Hobbit was always intended to be more of a younger children’s story, so *perhaps* some of the silliness can be at least slightly forgivable.

      On the other hand, The Lord of The Rings films were pretty much almost everything that I had hoped they would be (although the omission of the Scouring of The Shire was inexcusable).

  2. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

    Best script

    Gandalf, Saruman and Lady Galadrial share a house in Gondor. Hilarity ensues as these odd couples argue over who's turn it is to polish the palantir and get into whacky situations and romance.

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Best script

      You bastard... I now have visions of Friends in middle earth dancing though my brain

      Pass the brain bleach please

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Best script

      Oh God, I now have this awful mental image of an ageing David Schwimmer as Saruman and Lisa Kudrow playing Galadriel. Please ... stop.

      Mind you - a perfect vehicle for Matt LeBlanc as Sauron: no lines!

      1. Fink-Nottle

        Re: Best script

        > Oh God, I now have this awful mental image of an ageing David Schwimmer as Saruman and Lisa Kudrow playing Galadriel

        Bree's Company with Graham Norton as the inn-keeper of the Prancing Pony - Mr Butterman / Mr Roper. Lots of camp hilarity about weed and 'special' rooms ensues ...

    3. TitterYeNot

      Re: Best script

      As a TV series, Galadriel's opening monologue will be a little different though.

      The world is changed;

      I can feel it in my water,

      I can feel it in the night soil,

      I can smell it in the fetid air...

    4. steelpillow Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Best script

      My favourite related TV sketch (The Fast Show?) was Gandalf and Saruman as a couple of gay old friends meeting up in the street and going off together. Can't recall if they were depicted as actors in identical costume robes and whiskers, but either way, once you've seen it you can't look at LoTR any other way.

  3. ThatOne Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I actually love Tolkien's universe, and was somewhat depressed to hear this. Low budget marketing-driven heroic fantasy with a Tolkien stamp of (dis)approval, sounds like a great recipe for disaster.

    Expect cheesy (PG!) romance, spectacular stunts, lots of CGI, frightening monsters, and all-around merchandising. Who else was hoping for a Palantir-shaped Echo device?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      You think this is bad? Just wait till they start licensing LOTR to the ad industry...

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Lets face it, the LotR films were basically New Zealand tourist board promos.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Low(er) budget is not necessarily bad

      The significantly low(er) budget Dune miniseries done by the sci-fi channel are light years ahead of the 1984 David Lynch idiocy which had an order of magnitude higher budget. Similarly, a season of Babylon5, Stargate, etc was created on a fraction of the money used on a StarTrek Deep Space 9 or Star Trek NG per-season budget. Huge Budget does not necessarily make a good movie. Rogue one had only 3 quarters of the budget used by The Force Awakens delivering a significantly better film in the process.

      1. Gobhicks

        Re: Low(er) budget is not necessarily bad

        BOO! I love Lynch's Dune, Sting and all.

  4. Michael Thibault

    "All of which has huge potential for fine television."

    If that sentence does not contain an oxymoron, it certainly sets thing up for a massively-hyped, expensive, unforgettably unforgivable, widely-disparaged, disappointing face-plant. Brought to you by Orville Redenbacher.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      All of which has huge potential for fine television.

      Whilst simultaneously having huge potential for being an absolute crock of expensive shit.

      Is there any way to harness JRRT's spinning body to generate electricity?

  5. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga

    > Less obviously exciting is the “previously unexplored storylines”, because Tolkien's deep history of Middle Earth was not his most engaging work.

    How about Narn i Hîn Húrin (Tale of the Children of Hurin), which appears as the most memorable of the sub-stories in Silmarillion, and other post-humously published writings? A few years ago Christopher Tolkien finally glued the pieces into a separate book. It could actually make a pretty good film.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga

      There's also lots of deeply-depressing^W ^W moody TV to be made with the rise of the Witch-King and the Fall of Arnor.

      Or the story of Beren and Luthien.

      Or the stories of Numenor (and it's fall).

      The rise of Rohan

      The backstory of Galadriel and the fall of the Noldor.

      The Fall of Gondolin

      They would probably have to stay away from the sections concerning Eru Iluvatar and all the vala/maia stuff in order to stop various US fundies frothing at the mouth.. They would also require very, very good scriptwriters to make the most of things without downgrading them into unwatchable pap.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga

        They would also require very, very good scriptwriters to make the most of things without downgrading them into unwatchable pap.

        Wot he said.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga

      Hasn't the BBC already done this? There's definitely stuff in Unfinished Tales that could be done. But it would be difficult not to repeat what's already been done. Think of what an awful mess Jackson made of The Hobbit by turning it into an extended prequel of Lord of the Rings.

  6. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Numenor

    Is this still much interest in the fantasy genre? I would have thought that Game of Thrones is being wound down for a reason and it is hardly because the books are (ahem) almost finished.

    That being said, there is a lot of potential for setting it in Numenor [1]. There are rough details of many of the kings in Unfinished Tales but nothing too detailed. This leaves a framework that can be filled in.

    Sauron's there too and busy with Celebrimbor in Moria a-ring-making, as are Aragorn's descendents.

    One can only hope that the script is given the attention it deserves is done well.

    [1] Apologies for the lack of accents. I couldn't be arsed looking for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a lot of potential for setting it in Numenor

      I think you could probably even set it in some of the footnotes in Book of Lost Tales 1 ... :-)

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Numenor

      A tale about a small island nation that once had a great empire allowing a weak prime minister, sorry King, to be corrupted, splitting from its friends to the East and looking towards unobtainable riches to the West only to be destroyed as a result of its own greed.

      1. RealBigAl

        Re: Numenor

        Sounds like Moorcock's Runestaff stories from the Eternal Champion series,

        and something else I can't quite put my finger on.

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