Werthead

Amazon and WB discussing new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series

237 posts in this topic

Was there a coup at the Tolkien Estate?  Did Simon littlefinger Christopher?

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It's the world and setting that they want, and the enormous interest in it. 

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13 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Was there a coup at the Tolkien Estate?  Did Simon littlefinger Christopher?

It's certainly a question what's going on with the Tolkien Estate, but it may be the case that once LotR was adapted, CT felt less strongly about future such efforts if the Tolkien Estate was thoroughly remunerated. But Silm and so on are, I think, safe from adaptation for a generation.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Title spiel:

"He's a king in exile, ain't got any allies, apart from an old dude in a hat. Now he knows his destiny, but he needs to find himself first...and just maybe, find some friends along the way."

ARAGORN: RANGER OF THE NORTH (howl of guitar music)

Starring Definitely Not Viggo Mortensen, But Probably Orlando Bloom Will Show Up

If it's done with the same production style as "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" that could be really funny.  Heck let Kevin Sorbo play Aragorn.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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1 minute ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

This could be really really bad.

I do fear that our dear friends at Amazon may find themselves out of pocket with this gamble.

The Tolkien estate have fixed a cushy deal though.

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The big question...

Where does this leave Sony's Wheel of Time adaptation?

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4 minutes ago, Risto said:

The big question...

Where does this leave Sony's Wheel of Time adaptation?

I do not believe that there is a general surge in the popularity of fantasy on television. I think the sex, violence and plot twists of GoT just appealed to a large cross section of people who would not necessarily enjoy LotR or Wheel of Time just because it has a fantasy setting.

Many people who watch GoT actually complain about the presence of magic, the Others and wights and watch it mainly for the politics. In that sense, the more traditional fantasy stories might struggle to gain the same kind of popularity in the medium of television.

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18 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I do not believe that there is a general surge in the popularity of fantasy on television. I think the sex, violence and plot twists of GoT just appealed to a large cross section of people who would not necessarily enjoy LotR or Wheel of Time just because it has a fantasy setting.

Many people who watch GoT actually complain about the presence of magic, the Others and wights and watch it mainly for the politics. In that sense, the more traditional fantasy stories might struggle to gain the same kind of popularity in the medium of television.

 

I largely concur with this assessment, which is why I think its an exceedingly risky move by Amazon.

What drew me, actually, to GoT was the way in which GRRM inverted the expectations one typically has for the fantasy genre. He took the genre but came up with a gritty, Sopranos-like story about great power politics, intrigue and violence against a fantasy setting. It was ground-breaking: a fantasy political drama.

Amazon would need to take a very fresh approach to the source material to make this pay off, I reckon, albeit one also in keeping with the spirit of Tolkien's original work. No mean feat.

The different races and what-not in Middle-earth could present a problem if they try to go for a more earthy or gritty interpretation, since GoT has (for the most part) been driven by a far more thoroughly anthropocentric focus. Then again, perhaps GoT has made high fantasy more respectable and appealing to people who otherwise wouldn't have given it a chance, so there might be some sort of mood shift.

 

Edited by Krishtotter

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So it's happening, and it sounds like it will not overlap hugely with either the Hobbit movies or the LotR movies.  Questions then turn to quality of the adaptation, and what material they will use vs how much they will create to make screen-worthy programming.

 

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42 minutes ago, Ran said:

It's the world and setting that they want, and the enormous interest in it. 

Exactly. Like we both said the other week - adapting LOTR seemed redundant yet still a viable marketing move. Having the ability to adapt/invent material prior to LOTR makes even more sense.

Somebody said using the appendices as bullet points wouldn't be enough. I'd argue that's perfect for a TV team wanting an outline but not having fans go over what is and isn't included with a fine tooth comb. Even when the GOT team had whole books they still invented new scenes and dialogue because I imagine it would be extraordinarily dull to just transcribe a book to screen.

How much of an outline is there between Hobbit and LOTR though? I guess there could be split narratives involving Gimlee (for more on dwarves), Legolas (for elves), Aragorn (for aragorn). They should be ballsy and have a mordor POV or Saruman going darkside. Then there's Gandalf because I guess you can't not have Gandalf in the TV show. Unless they don't want to use any characters connecting to LOTR but then it doesn't feel as prequel-like or deserving of the LOTR name.

I'm a whole lot more interested if they aren't just redoing the films/books. But I'm not as attached to the additional material (largely because I haven't read it yet).

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OTOH, LotR was an enormous success as a film adaptation. Middle-earth is as much a character as any of the Fellowship, really. So ... I suppose this is not the worst bet when you're looking for massive properties. There are few worlds that have the kind of cachet that Middle-earth has. It gives a massive head-start.

What's left that gives that kind of immediate buzz? Harry Potter, really, now that Disney has full control of Star Wars and has decided any TV series will be exclusive to its new streaming initiative. Won't be surprised to hear about a Potterverse series in the next year or two.

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23 minutes ago, Risto said:

The big question...

Where does this leave Sony's Wheel of Time adaptation?

spinning.

16 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I do not believe that there is a general surge in the popularity of fantasy on television. I think the sex, violence and plot twists of GoT just appealed to a large cross section of people who would not necessarily enjoy LotR or Wheel of Time just because it has a fantasy setting.

Many people who watch GoT actually complain about the presence of magic, the Others and wights and watch it mainly for the politics. In that sense, the more traditional fantasy stories might struggle to gain the same kind of popularity in the medium of television.

I'm with you entirely on the unspoken appeal of GOT being sex and violence. It's a staple of HBO - luckily they tend to combine it with great storytelling too (unless it's large swathes of True Blood and GOT).

I certainly don't want LOTR to get a HBO spin but they could certainly take advantage of the politics and backstabbing. I'm sure there's lots of stuff with the elves (and their apparent disinterest in human affairs), the wizards and the Gondor/Rohan alliance.

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I hope Netflix' Witcher series smashes it and this falls on its face. Fuck them.


And to be fair, The Witcher, while the books aren't so popular outside of Poland, the games are huge.

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11 minutes ago, Ran said:

OTOH, LotR was an enormous success as a film adaptation. Middle-earth is as much a character as any of the Fellowship, really. So ... I suppose this is not the worst bet when you're looking for massive properties. There are few worlds that have the kind of cachet that Middle-earth has. It gives a massive head-start.

What's left that gives that kind of immediate buzz? Harry Potter, really, now that Disney has full control of Star Wars and has decided any TV series will be exclusive to its new streaming initiative. Won't be surprised to hear about a Potterverse series in the next year or two.

Potter the next generation on a cable channel seems like the only thing that could compete with Star wars and LOTR in terms of visibility. Unless we were to get a TV show with Wolverine, Spidey, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman and Iron Man as a team fighting villains on a weekly basis on the small screen.

 

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19 minutes ago, red snow said:

spinning.

I'm with you entirely on the unspoken appeal of GOT being sex and violence. It's a staple of HBO - luckily they tend to combine it with great storytelling too (unless it's large swathes of True Blood and GOT).

I certainly don't want LOTR to get a HBO spin but they could certainly take advantage of the politics and backstabbing. I'm sure there's lots of stuff with the elves (and their apparent disinterest in human affairs), the wizards and the Gondor/Rohan alliance.

 

Well, the press releases and Bezos's direction to his team did make it clear that GoT was the benchmark/template they seek to emulate.

I'm not certain what this means but I definitely feel that, as far as adult-themed fantasy goes post-GoT, public expectations have changed since the heyday of LoTR in the early 2000s.

To fulfil the objective Bezos has put forward, they would need to satisfy a similar market to the very diverse GoT fanbase (a sizeable percentage of whom were hooked by the political-intrigue dimension to the franchise, as others have already noted) while staying true to the spirit of Tolkien's legendarium. I'm not persuaded that could be easily achieved.

Edited by Krishtotter

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For the political angle I'd like to see the fall of the north kingdoms of Arnor into the division of the three states that followed.

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Krishtotter,

The wholesome Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them cleared $800 million globally. The pretty wholesome Marvel franchise (aside from depictions of cartoonish violence) is now the most valuable cinematic franchise in the world.

I don't think sex-and-backstabbing-and-grittiness is necessarily the thing you _must_ have to be a success. It's just one path, and to a certain degree there's a danger in trying to follow a previous show too closely.

Bezos's goal is to find something that can be as bigger or bigger than GoT, not necessarily find something that is literally like GoT in terms of content and tone.

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21 minutes ago, Ran said:

Krishtotter,

The wholesome Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them cleared $800 million globally. The pretty wholesome Marvel franchise (aside from depictions of cartoonish violence) is now the most valuable cinematic franchise in the world.

I don't think sex-and-backstabbing-and-grittiness is necessarily the thing you _must_ have to be a success. It's just one path, and to a certain degree there's a danger in trying to follow a previous show too closely.

Bezos's goal is to find something that can be as bigger or bigger than GoT, not necessarily find something that is literally like GoT in terms of content and tone.

 

Indeed but those are film franchises as opposed to episodic prestige TV dramas.

They are somewhat different mediums. TV series' are more sprawling and complicated, for one.

Also, it depends if your reaching for the adult market (like GoT) or family viewing with a leaning towards the kids end of the spectrum (like Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts). I think the latter work out better as single, couple of hours-long blockbusters.

I'm not suggesting that he'd want a lame, unoriginal shadow of GoT, LoTR is an entirely distinct "beast". However, I do sincerely think GoT managed to become so successful a boon financially and in terms of its cultural footprint precisely for the reason that it combined fantasy with gritty political power plays in an intriguing mix that suited the episodic format of TV. It wouldn't have worked otherwise. And I think he does want to tap into a similar market with similar broad appeal.

Think of the fantasy series' that have flopped, like Earthsea or Camelot. 

Edited by Krishtotter

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