Werthead

Amazon and WB discussing new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series

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21 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Krishtotter,

The stories of Kinslaying and the Oath of Feanor are dark, but not necessarily "gritty".

 

Fair point but I still think it has a different vibe from LoTR. 

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46 minutes ago, Ran said:

I am exceptionally familiar with all of Tolkien’s work, and own the HoME and so on, so I don’t need it quoted at me. :) But what Scot says. These are tragedies but on a very different scale and in a very different mode from anything I’d consider “gritty” fiction. “Gritty” literature is about tone, style, and focus — you’re down in the muck and filth.  None of Tolkien’s work is “gritty” to me, from that perspective. But YMMV. 

As with Scot, fair point...but the themes are still darker and many of the characters seem far more morally ambiguous imho. Also there's the duplicity, abduction and attempted rape, backstabbing, kingdom-squabbling, kin-killing, brutality and selfish aspirations for political supremacy that isn't so pronounced in LoTR. 

I think that the tone, style and focus is distinctly darker - even if one doesn't consider it "gritty" (which is probably in part subjective anyway).  

The point I'm making is that if someone did adapt this material one day, they would have ample narratives offering up scenes of "power, and the savagery, cunning, deception, charisma or strategic brilliance that’s necessary to gain or retain it at a time when there are no bureaucratic or democratic institutions to take the place of brute force and fear", to quote that aforementioned reviewer's thoughts on GoT compared with LoTR. It's certainly not "wholesome" or Sunday school. 

Edited by Krishtotter

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The Silmarillion is clearly much darker than LoTR.  That isn't in dispute.  It is the "Gritty" that would be out of tone for Tolkien or a TV series based upon Tolkien's work.  

Gritty Tolkien would just be wrong.

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Ha, i missed a lot here. So its not going to be based on anything specific? Just random made up stuff?

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

The Silmarillion is clearly much darker than LoTR.  That isn't in dispute.  It is the "Gritty" that would be out of tone for Tolkien or a TV series based upon Tolkien's work.  

Gritty Tolkien would just be wrong.

 

A matter of personal perspective perhaps but let's consider another tale from the Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin. 

Turin, son of Hurin, is a mortal man who has been raised in Doriath by King Thingol (Luthien's father) among elves. 

Túrin accidentally causes the death of the Elf Saeros - who has always despised Turin because he doesn't believe that mortal men should live among Elves (he's a racist, effectively). Turin essentially snaps, Saeros attempts to jump to safety over ravine while fleeing from Turin, as follows in chapter five:

 

Turin said nothing, but turned his eyes upon Saeros, and there was a glint in their darkness. But Saeros did not heed the warning, and returned the gaze with scorn, saying for all to hear: 'If the Men of Hithlum are so wild and fell, of what sort are the women of that land? Do they run like the deer clad only in their hair?'

Then Turin took up a drinking-vessel and cast it in Saeros' face, and he fell backward with great hurt; and Turin drew his sword and would have run at him, but Mablung restrained him. Then Saeros rising spat blood upon the board, and spoke as best he could with a broken mouth: 'How long shall we harbour this woodwose? Who rules here tonight? The King's law is heavy upon those who hurt his lieges in the hall; and for those who draw blades there outlawry is the least doom. Outside the hall I could answer you, Woodwose!'

Then Mablung said to Saeros: 'What ails you tonight? For this evil I hold you to blame; and maybe the King's law will judge a broken mouth a just return for your taunting.'

'If the cub has a grievance, let him bring it to the King's judgement,' answered Saeros....

In the morning he waylaid Turin, as he set off early from Menegroth, intending to go back to the marches. Turin had gone only a little way when Saeros ran out upon him from behind with drawn sword and shield on arm. But Turin, trained in the wild to wariness, s
aw him from the corner of his eye, and leaping aside he drew swiftly and turned upon his foe...

He soon had the mastery, and wounding Saeros' sword-arm he had him at his mercy. Then he set his foot on the sword that Saeros had let fall. 'Saeros,' he said, 'there is a long race before you, and clothes will be a hindrance; hair must suffice.' And suddenly throwing him to the ground he stripped him, and Saeros felt Turin's great strength, and was afraid. But Turin let him up, and then 'Run, run, mocker of women!' he cried. 'Run! And unless you go swift as the deer I shall prick you on from behind.' Then he set the point of the sword in Saeros' buttock; and he fled into the wood, crying wildly for help in his terror; but Turin came after him like a hound, and however he ran, or swerved, still the sword was behind him to egg him on...

'Hold, hold, Turin!' he cried. 'This is Orc-work in the woods!' 'Orc-work there was; this is only Orc-play,' Turin called back. Before Mablung spoke he had been on the point of releasing Saeros, but now with a shout he sprang after him again; and Saeros, despairing at last of aid and thinking his death close behind, ran wildly on, until he came suddenly to a brink...

 

Saeros falls off a ravine and is killed. Túrin's reaction to Saeros's death is cold:

 

  • "Now he has laid a guilt on me undeserved." 
    "I did not will it, but I do not mourn it."

Túrin refuses to return to Doriath to face judgement and opts to leave Doriath, becoming an outlaw. Thingol tries Túrin in absentia and ultimately pardons him, because he loves him like a son.  

Túrin meanwhile joins a band of outlaws in the wild, he renames himself Neithan, "the wronged" and eventually becomes their captain. He seems to be adjusting to their way of life until they raid a local village and try to rape a young girl - which is a bridge too far for Turin: 

 

CHAPTER VI TURIN AMONG THE OUTLAWS

Now the tale turns again to Turin. He, believing himself an outlaw whom the King would pursue, did not return to Beleg on the north-marches of Doriath, but went away westward...

For in that time of ruin houseless and desperate men went astray: remnants of battle and defeat, and lands laid waste; and some were men driven into the wild for evil deeds....In winter they were most to be feared, like wolves; and Gaurwaith, wolf-men, they were called by those who still defended their homes...

The hardest of heart was one named Androg, who had been hunted from Dor-lomin for the slaying of a woman...

Now in the woods of Teiglin, as has been told, there were still some homesteads of Men, hardy and wary, though now few in number. Though they loved them not at all and pitied them little, they would in bitter winter put out such food as they could well spare where the Gaurwaith might find it; and so they hoped to avoid the banded attack of the famished. But they earned less gratitude so from the outlaws than from beasts and birds, and they were saved rather by their dogs and their fences...

But on a sudden he heard cries, and from a hazel-thicket a young woman ran out; her clothes were rent by thorns, and she was in great fear, and stumbling she fell gasping to the ground. Then Turin springing towards the thicket with drawn sword hewed down a man that burst from the hazels in pursuit; and he saw only in the very stroke that it was Forweg.

But as he stood looking down in amaze at the blood upon the grass, Androg came out, and halted also astounded. 'Evil work, Neithan!' he cried, and drew his sword; but Turin's mood ran cold, and he said to Androg: 'Where are the Orcs, then? Have you outrun them to help her?'

'Orcs?' said Androg. 'Fool! You call yourself an outlaw. Outlaws know no law but their needs. Look to your own, Neithan, and leave us to mind ours.'

'I will do so,' said Turin. 'But today our paths have crossed. You will leave the woman to me, or you will join Forweg.'

 Then the woman rose to her feet and laid her hand on Turin's arm. She looked at the blood and she looked at Turin, and there was delight in her eyes. 'Kill him, lord!' she said. 'Kill him too! And then come with me. If you bring their heads, Larnach my father will not be displeased. For two "wolf-heads" he has rewarded men well.'

 

To me, this is both "dark" and "gritty", certainly on a par with anything in GoT. Having pillaged defenseless villages all winter, Androg and Forweg's thoughts turn to rape – or "their needs" as Andróg appropriately phrased it. The outlaws laugh about it, and Andróg jokes later on with Túrin about the woman he saved: "Maybe she hopes to meet with you again." Their views, actions, and speeches are sleazy, in my opinion.

And even the girl whose life he saves is not your stereotypical damsal but a brutalized young woman who sees the blood of the slain on Turin, then invites him "with delight in her eyes" to decapitate Androg and bring his head along with Forweg's to her father for a reward. 

Umm, yeah. 

You just don't get stuff like that in LoTR. Dark yes but for me pretty gritty as well - like Turin stripping Saeros naked after he assaulted him from behind in a duel and running after the latter with a sword pointed at his ass through the woods, because he had earlier made a sexist, mocking remark about mortal women from Turin's hometown (that Turin took as an insult to his mother Morwen), which Turin saw merely as "orc-play!" only that it ended in Saeros' death when the Elf leaps off a ravine.

Edited by Krishtotter

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18 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Wow, they got The Sil?

That's crazy.

 

I don't think they do.

That article alleged as much but you could literally strike me down with a feather duster before I believed that. Christopher Tolkien has vowed in the past that the Sil will never be optioned for adaption in his lifetime. It's his dad's most precious work - the character of Luthien was based on his wife, for instance, Christopher's mother.

If they did have the Sil, then I could believe that they may have a decent shot of creating another GoT-style success.

Edited by Krishtotter

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2 hours ago, Ran said:

I am exceptionally familiar with all of Tolkien’s work, and own the HoME and so on, so I don’t need it quoted at me. :) But what Scot says. These are tragedies but on a very different scale and in a very different mode from anything I’d consider “gritty” fiction. “Gritty” literature is about tone, style, and focus — you’re down in the muck and filth.  None of Tolkien’s work is “gritty” to me, from that perspective. But YMMV. 

Well except Tal Elmar.

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

It's certainly dead at Amazon, that's for sure.

Given what's going on elsewhere the window has pretty much narrowed to just Starz or FX (or an ulta-cheap version on AMC or SyFy, which seems unlikely), and they will have to ask whether it's worthwhile having a big fantasy series on whilst a Middle-earth show is running. The fact that GoT was winding down was a strong argument in favour of making WoT (since the GoT prequel will almost certainly be a smaller-in-scale, possibly lower-profile show) and now that argument is out of the window.

What about Disney's new channel? They have Star Wars and Marvel. Adding a huge fantasy franchise would certainly help immediately catapult them to a top tier streaming service. And since this is Disney, I can totally image Disneyland getting in on the action as well, as they have with HP.

Not sure if Sony and Disney would work together though.

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26 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

What about Disney's new channel? They have Star Wars and Marvel. Adding a huge fantasy franchise would certainly help immediately catapult them to a top tier streaming service. And since this is Disney, I can totally image Disneyland getting in on the action as well, as they have with HP.

Not sure if Sony and Disney would work together though.

Eh, HP is at Universal, and Sony and Disney worked on Spiderman.

1 hour ago, Krishtotter said:

I don't think they do.

That article alleged as much but you could literally strike me down with a feather duster before I believed that. Christopher Tolkien has vowed in the past that the Sil will never be optioned for adaption in his lifetime. It's his dad's most precious work - the character of Luthien was based on his wife, for instance, Christopher's mother.

If they did have the Sil, then I could believe that they may have a decent shot of creating another GoT-style success.

It's being reported everywhere that they do. *shrug*

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Just now, Darth Richard II said:

Eh, HP is at Universal, and Sony and Disney worked on Spiderman.

Yeah, I flubbed that one. 

Spiderman does show a new cooperation between these guys. Maybe they'll do it for Wheel, again.

As for the Middle Earth prequel... everyone seems to want to Silmarillion, but I think it'd be terrible on TV. The timescales are very, very long. If they were to take all that out and try compress this, the grandeur and tragic sweep of the story will be lost completely.

They could take a particular story, like Beren and Luthien, maybe. There's darkness there, sure, but it is also a fairly straightforward romance story. Turin's story is certainly dark, but it is also a complete tragedy, devoid of anything approaching humor or joy. Grit is one thing, but a thoroughly depressing story? I doubt it will sell as well.

I think they'd do far better to mine the fall of Numenor, the making of the Rings, the politics between Celebrimbor, Galadriel, Sauron and Gil Galad, Moria's fall, the establishment of Arnor and Gondor, all leading to the fall of Sauron, and ending with Isildur's death and the loss of the Ring.

There is quite a lot of detailed storytelling surrounding this Age, and its ties to LotR would be obvious, yet it is a story with many nuances that the movie audience simply does not know, as well as room to expand beyond the notes. There's room for politics and moral grey areas, too. And it would nicely tie in with the start of Fellowship.

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I've heard rumors it my be an anthology type series that jumps around in the timeline/story, but just about any SFF show has those rumors when it's first announced.

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59 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Yeah, I flubbed that one. 

Spiderman does show a new cooperation between these guys. Maybe they'll do it for Wheel, again.

As for the Middle Earth prequel... everyone seems to want to Silmarillion, but I think it'd be terrible on TV. The timescales are very, very long. If they were to take all that out and try compress this, the grandeur and tragic sweep of the story will be lost completely.

They could take a particular story, like Beren and Luthien, maybe. There's darkness there, sure, but it is also a fairly straightforward romance story. Turin's story is certainly dark, but it is also a complete tragedy, devoid of anything approaching humor or joy. Grit is one thing, but a thoroughly depressing story? I doubt it will sell as well.

I think they'd do far better to mine the fall of Numenor, the making of the Rings, the politics between Celebrimbor, Galadriel, Sauron and Gil Galad, Moria's fall, the establishment of Arnor and Gondor, all leading to the fall of Sauron, and ending with Isildur's death and the loss of the Ring.

There is quite a lot of detailed storytelling surrounding this Age, and its ties to LotR would be obvious, yet it is a story with many nuances that the movie audience simply does not know, as well as room to expand beyond the notes. There's room for politics and moral grey areas, too. And it would nicely tie in with the start of Fellowship.

I don't think Silmarillion would be that hard to film as a tv series other than insane cost of good CGI.  Just keep it the 3 mains stories of Beren and Luthien, Children of Hurin, Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin, and then you essentially get to make up most of the War of Wrath since Tolkien never did a complete version anyways.  Tv would allow you to go into the backstory of the elves pretty easily without front loading them. Ie have Barahir discuss the Silmarils with Beren when they are outlaws, etc.

Fall of Numenor would also be a great season of a show though I admit.

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3 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

What about Disney's new channel? They have Star Wars and Marvel. Adding a huge fantasy franchise would certainly help immediately catapult them to a top tier streaming service. And since this is Disney, I can totally image Disneyland getting in on the action as well, as they have with HP.

Not sure if Sony and Disney would work together though.

I mean, do they need anything else? Honestly - I'd be making sure my star wars tv show looked as close to the movies as possible and keep the eggs in that basket. Trying to make WOT or another fantasy show would seem uneccessary.

Plus Star Wars is as much fantasy as SF.

And Disney would be more likely to use some existing IP eg a live-action TV version of one of its many animated films. It could even have another go at adapting the "Black Cauldron" series.

But the answer is still "they have star wars and marvel". I think they want the remainder of the marvel properties with the FOX partial buyout - I'm not sure if FOX has a fantasy property. It's actually better for it's sf properties eg Avatar and Alien. I guess if Disney wanted to do some overkill and have companions to SE that'd work.

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5 hours ago, Krishtotter said:

I don't think they do.

That article alleged as much but you could literally strike me down with a feather duster before I believed that. Christopher Tolkien has vowed in the past that the Sil will never be optioned for adaption in his lifetime. It's his dad's most precious work - the character of Luthien was based on his wife, for instance, Christopher's mother.

If they did have the Sil, then I could believe that they may have a decent shot of creating another GoT-style success.

Looks a lot like they actually have a deal with Tolkien estate. Christopher Tolkien may not like it but how much control does he have? Being a good catholic, JRR Tolkien had a whole bunch of children. Anyway,The Guardian reports: 

Quote

Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien estate and trust and the publisher HarperCollins, said: “We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings.

“Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on JRR Tolkien’s original writings.”

 

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The repeated references to LotR make it clear to me that that is what the deal is about. Late Third Age Middle-earth, not The Silmarillion.

Christopher Tolkien is the sole executor of the estate, but there are other family members involved, and as I recall his nephew Michael George Tolkien was noted as having a large role in affairs as he was of like-mind to CT. CT's own son, Simon, did have some serious disagreements regarding how the Tolkien Estate was keeping at arms-length from Jackson's LotR films, but as I understand it they later reconciled.

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12 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Does everyone watch TV shows because they reflect what's happening in the real world today? Is escapism a thing of the past?

I generally agree... Especially having in mind Fantastic Beasts and many of Marvel movies.

But, when you announce, it will be "new GoT", one expects it relates to present at least a little bit.

13 hours ago, Werthead said:

It's certainly dead at Amazon, that's for sure.

Given what's going on elsewhere the window has pretty much narrowed to just Starz or FX (or an ulta-cheap version on AMC or SyFy, which seems unlikely), and they will have to ask whether it's worthwhile having a big fantasy series on whilst a Middle-earth show is running. The fact that GoT was winding down was a strong argument in favour of making WoT (since the GoT prequel will almost certainly be a smaller-in-scale, possibly lower-profile show) and now that argument is out of the window.

Is even Starz plausible solution with their commitment to Outlander? And, even though FX had some great things in the past, are they prepared to give out THAT amount of money for this?

I mean, GoT will end in 2019, and this project will go beyond that so whoever do WoT will undoubtedly have to compete with these two behemoths. 

11 hours ago, Krishtotter said:

Surely, you can't say this has the same "tenor" as the hobbit and LoTR? 

As Ran and Scott explained, there is a difference between dark and gritty. That said, isn't it kinda pointless to debate Silmarilion now when the deal is SOLELY about LOTR and Hobbit?

11 hours ago, Ran said:

When we thought it was just re-doing LotR, it seemed crazy. This... not so much. If they hit the right notes, evoking the things that made people love the books and the films, then it should be a great success.

I feel that same way... I just wonder whether the series will be in the shared Universe with the movies. I remember after the Saruman's death that Gandalf said to send the words to every corner of ME. After that, Legolas said something about war coming to his and Gimli's homelands. That would be a nice expansion. 

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9 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

What about Disney's new channel? They have Star Wars and Marvel. Adding a huge fantasy franchise would certainly help immediately catapult them to a top tier streaming service. And since this is Disney, I can totally image Disneyland getting in on the action as well, as they have with HP.

Not sure if Sony and Disney would work together though.

Sony and Disney are working together on Spider-Man so it's not impossible.

My feeling is that Disney had two major mega-franchises with Marvel and Star Wars (and three with the Pixar movies), so it depends if they want to double down with a new franchise or if they're happy to exploit what they have.

Quote

 

It's being reported everywhere that they do. *shrug*


 

Only one website, Inverse, claimed this. It appears they are wrong.

 

Quote

 

Looks a lot like they actually have a deal with Tolkien estate. Christopher Tolkien may not like it but how much control does he have? Being a good catholic, JRR Tolkien had a whole bunch of children. Anyway,The Guardian reports: 

 

Christopher Tolkien (age 92) is the sole legal and literary executive of the estate. He has total control over everything. Others benefit financially and have seats on the board. Tolkien's daughter Priscilla (age 88) is still alive as well. Tolkien's eldest two sons, John and Michael are both deceased. Michael's son, also called Michael, and Christopher's second son Adam are on the board of the Tolkien trust and are closely involved in affairs. When Christopher dies it is assumed that the role of literary executor would fall to either Michael Jnr. or Adam.

Simon Tolkien (Christopher's first son) and Royd (Michael Tolkien Snr.'s grandson) both approved of the Jackson films and got involved with them. Simon appears to have reconciled with his father and Royd apparently didn't give a shit about the rest of the family's opinion (he seems to be a bit of a rebel).

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Krishtotter,

 

Tolkien's writing could be dark but I never saw it as "gritty".  Tolkien is not among the "Grimdark" sub-genre.

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Interesting. Netflix offered $100 million for the rights and were turned down. They were not prepared to stump up $250 million, whilst Amazon were.

Also, Amazon have not yet even attempted to talk to Team Jackson about the project. You'd have thought at least a courtesy call would have been made.

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