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Werthead

Amazon and WB discussing new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series

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I'm pinning my hopes on the Aragorn arc being confined to the first season, because at least there's enough material to work with there (but not enough for five seasons). If they want another Game of Thrones though, they've made a serious mistake - the stakes aren't high enough.

My own curiosity is how they treat Denethor:

https://phuulishfellow.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/so-it-is-young-aragorn/

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1 hour ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

I'm pinning my hopes on the Aragorn arc being confined to the first season, because at least there's enough material to work with there (but not enough for five seasons). If they want another Game of Thrones though, they've made a serious mistake - the stakes aren't high enough.

My own curiosity is how they treat Denethor:

https://phuulishfellow.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/so-it-is-young-aragorn/

While it's certainly not as major as razing Umbar I think you are skipping over some potential GOT style stuff in Rohan.  Fengel is supposed to be this big ass (who you could also play as hating Gondor due to his brothers's deaths) and so could intruduce Aragorn to the general shittyness of men.  You could fudge things a bit and make it so instead of Thengel leaving Fengel's court due to Fengel being a piece of shit, you could also have him follow Thorongil into Gondor and so because of Aragorn he meets his Gondorian wife and then Theden is around due to Aragorn.

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Correction on my part - Amazon doesn't need to have a season produced in two years. They just need to have started production within two years of optioning the rights (which would mean they need to start production by November 2019). 

 

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Starting earlier than I expected, it seems likely, but makes sense. The Thorongil period in Rohan and Gondor could be something for a later season, if they want to move things ahead.

That said, wow, TORN is run by extremely optimistic boosters of any adaptation: "James, it will be canon.  Amazon has INITIALLY spent $500 mil. on Tolkien’s published book rights, in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate themselves!"

The fuck? That's not how canon works.

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14 hours ago, Ran said:

Starting earlier than I expected, it seems likely, but makes sense. The Thorongil period in Rohan and Gondor could be something for a later season, if they want to move things ahead.

That said, wow, TORN is run by extremely optimistic boosters of any adaptation: "James, it will be canon.  Amazon has INITIALLY spent $500 mil. on Tolkien’s published book rights, in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate themselves!"

The fuck? That's not how canon works.

They've also gotten that wrong. It was $250 million they spent on the rights and will be now spending $150 million per season, after Netflix refused to pay $100 million (and HBO apparently let New Line make the pitch and then effectively laughed them out of the room). I'm not sure where the $500 million for the rights alone came from, that's beyond preposterous.

I think Amazon are massively overreaching here, personally. I can see people tuning in out of curiosity, but without a strong, gripping narrative they're not going to retain viewership. "See what Aragorn got up to when he was a kid, only with none of your favourite actors in it!" doesn't have that much pull.

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Maybe they should start off with him in Gondor in disguise as Thorongil, rather than as a young man up in Rivendell. They could always just use flashbacks to show him meeting Arwen, having that amusing chat with Elrond about it, and so forth. It would also give them a lot more characters and plots to work with, because Aragorn himself isn't really enough to hang even a season on - he needs friends, allies, enemies. 

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

I think Amazon are massively overreaching here, personally. I can see people tuning in out of curiosity, but without a strong, gripping narrative they're not going to retain viewership.

Their contract lets them get out of it if the show underperforms, right? 

 

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

(and HBO apparently let New Line make the pitch and then effectively laughed them out of the room)

I'm surprised they even thought they had a chance with HBO. There's no chance HBO would take that deal when they already have a massive hit fantasy series that they own the IP for, and are planning a spin-off that might very well cost north of $100 million/season. 

Edited by Fall Bass

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16 hours ago, Ran said:

Starting earlier than I expected, it seems likely, but makes sense. The Thorongil period in Rohan and Gondor could be something for a later season, if they want to move things ahead.

That said, wow, TORN is run by extremely optimistic boosters of any adaptation: "James, it will be canon.  Amazon has INITIALLY spent $500 mil. on Tolkien’s published book rights, in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate themselves!"

The fuck? That's not how canon works.

Maybe he meant it's canon with regards to the film? I hope

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I agree with what’s already been said here. Even as a diehard Tolkien fan I don’t have much interest in seeing an Aragorn series except as a miniseries. Stakes are too low without enough payoff to reward the build up. 

Can someone remind me what the Appendicies cover? Would it be possible for Amazon to make a series about the Last Alliance and the forging of the rings? I’d love to se Celebrimbor’s take told. 

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23 minutes ago, Ghjhero said:

I agree with what’s already been said here. Even as a diehard Tolkien fan I don’t have much interest in seeing an Aragorn series except as a miniseries. Stakes are too low without enough payoff to reward the build up. 

Can someone remind me what the Appendicies cover? Would it be possible for Amazon to make a series about the Last Alliance and the forging of the rings? I’d love to se Celebrimbor’s take told. 

I was under the impression they have the rights to the whole works, now that Christopher is retired from the board.

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1 hour ago, Ghjhero said:

I agree with what’s already been said here. Even as a diehard Tolkien fan I don’t have much interest in seeing an Aragorn series except as a miniseries. Stakes are too low without enough payoff to reward the build up. 

Can someone remind me what the Appendicies cover? Would it be possible for Amazon to make a series about the Last Alliance and the forging of the rings? I’d love to se Celebrimbor’s take told. 

Unless they've got their claws on the rights to Unfinished Tales, they won't get to show Celebrimbor's body riddled with arrows and used as a battle standard. 

Stuff in the appendices that might be of use:

  • A very summarised version of the Downfall of Numenor. You'd need to put a different spin on it to avoid the overlap with the Akallabeth though (unless they've bought the rights to that).
  • The Witch-King and Angmar. The demise of Arvedui.
  • The Gondorian Kinstrife.
  • Helm Hammerhand.

Stuff like the awakening of the Balrog in Moria wouldn't be enough to base a TV series around.

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1 hour ago, Darth Richard II said:

I was under the impression they have the rights to the whole works, now that Christopher is retired from the board.

If they had the rights to the whole works, they wouldn't be doing Aragorn.

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9 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

Maybe they should start off with him in Gondor in disguise as Thorongil, rather than as a young man up in Rivendell.

Yes, that'd be an approach. Something like this could work, IMO.

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5 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Unless they've got their claws on the rights to Unfinished Tales, they won't get to show Celebrimbor's body riddled with arrows and used as a battle standard. 

Stuff in the appendices that might be of use:

  • A very summarised version of the Downfall of Numenor. You'd need to put a different spin on it to avoid the overlap with the Akallabeth though (unless they've bought the rights to that).
  • The Witch-King and Angmar. The demise of Arvedui.
  • The Gondorian Kinstrife.
  • Helm Hammerhand.

Stuff like the awakening of the Balrog in Moria wouldn't be enough to base a TV series around.

I’m really surprised they didn’t go with the Witch King and Angmar. Already a pretty memorable/distinctive villain from the PJ movies so you would draw existing fans from there and it’s also a pretty fascinating part of the appendices that is already relatively fleshed out. Plenty of opportunity for flashy battle scenes and lots of gross and gritty stuff if they decided to explore Angmar a bit. Maybe it’s  just my personal preference showing through though because I always found the Northern Kingdoms particularly interesting

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With most of this stuff told in summary. it's going be a very, very fan-fic'd show to make it work at all. And the quality of writing will... depend on a lot of factors.  I'm honestly not sure why they didn't just redo Lord of the Rings (The Old Forest! Fatty! Scouring! Ghan-buri Ghan!) other than they want to piggyback on Jackson's Middle-Earth rather than Tolkien's. As it stands, this kinda reminds me of Tolkien abandoning the New Shadow because it lacked the grandeur of what came before... 

 

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3 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I’m really surprised they didn’t go with the Witch King and Angmar. Already a pretty memorable/distinctive villain from the PJ movies so you would draw existing fans from there and it’s also a pretty fascinating part of the appendices that is already relatively fleshed out. Plenty of opportunity for flashy battle scenes and lots of gross and gritty stuff if they decided to explore Angmar a bit. Maybe it’s  just my personal preference showing through though because I always found the Northern Kingdoms particularly interesting

I agree. Especially since Bezos wants another GoT, the fall of Arnor can be shown through a combination of warfare and intrigue.

Edited by Corvinus

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2 hours ago, Corvinus said:

I agree. Especially since Bezos wants another GoT, the fall of Arnor can be shown through a combination of warfare and intrigue.

You want them to cover 1000 years?  At the time of Arvedui it isn't a combination of warfare and intrigue.  It's a pathetically tiny "kingdom" being destroyed by a "Nation" stronger than it.  I always found it sad that the small army from Gondor (small for its standards even in its weaker stages) gets mentioned as being like the greatest thing since Last Alliance.

Still a depressing thing but I would watch would be like a hard luck Numonorean show.  Have him/her there at the fall of Arthedain and then join up with Gondor's army for revenge.  Then Not wanting to live in the empty north goes and hangs out with a buddy dwarf in Moria.  Then the balrog comes.  Then not wanting a repeat of that nonsense decides to emigrate to Gondor in a nice sweet villa in Minas Ithil for retirement in 1999.

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Quote

 

Their contract lets them get out of it if the show underperforms, right? 

 

I'm not sure. The contract is apparently for 5 seasons, guaranteed. Which is insane, but no more insane than paying a quarter billion up front for a project with no creative talent or star power attached.

 

Quote

 

I was under the impression they have the rights to the whole works, now that Christopher is retired from the board.

 

 
Nope. They have the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Lord of the Rings alone and nothing else.
 
The rights to The SilmarillionUnfinished Tales and everything else is with the Tolkien Estate. The Estate is happier with this new deal, but they haven't sold any rights to anything else yet.
 
The film rights to The Hobbit are with MGM and given the problems MGM caused on the movies, New Line aren't in a hurry to deal with them again, so they're avoiding the whole thing.

 

Quote

 

Maybe he meant it's canon with regards to the film? I hope

 

Given that not even the books are canon with regard to one another (aside from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), there's certainly no way this TV show will be canon to the books. The final arbiter of Middle-earth canon died in 1973, so even Christopher Tolkien making that claim holding the banner of Gondor over his head wouldn't be enough to make this canon.

I'm assuming the same thing, that they mean it will be in-continuity with both movie trilogies.

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16 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I'm assuming the same thing, that they mean it will be in-continuity with both movie trilogies.

Doesn't follow from their follow-up to the "canon" claim, which focuses wholly on how much money Amazon spent acquiring the rights and that the Tolkien Estate approves of it. It's not as if the Estate unreservedly approved of the films, for that matter.

I thik they were just letting enthusiasm get away with them. So it goes.

 

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

I'm not sure. The contract is apparently for 5 seasons, guaranteed. Which is insane, but no more insane than paying a quarter billion up front for a project with no creative talent or star power attached.

That's crazy. I suppose that means we could be in for some interesting watching - if the first season gets rushed out and falls flat, Amazon will fire almost everyone involved and retool the whole thing to try again for Season 2. Assuming it even gets that chance, since I don't think Amazon would be averse to trying to bribe the entire LOTR and Hobbit movie team (including Jackson) to make the first season. They want a hit, not something new. 

They don't really have some of the revenue streams that a cable channel making this would have, either. HBO made back well over the budget of Game of Thrones just on the foreign TV distribution rights, but Amazon is presumably going to want to distribute this worldwide through Amazon Prime Video. I guess maybe they could sell the episodes at the same time, too, for those without a Prime Subscription. 

12 hours ago, AlpenglowMemories said:

With most of this stuff told in summary. it's going be a very, very fan-fic'd show to make it work at all. And the quality of writing will... depend on a lot of factors.  I'm honestly not sure why they didn't just redo Lord of the Rings (The Old Forest! Fatty! Scouring! Ghan-buri Ghan!) other than they want to piggyback on Jackson's Middle-Earth rather than Tolkien's.

That's more or less it. Love or hate the most recent Jackson movies with the Hobbit, but they each made almost a billion dollars at the box office alone (never mind how profitable they were from other revenue streams). Amazon wants a big hit. 

It's a pity, because they could do a Lord of the Rings do-over that's stylistically different and closer to the books. The name recognition alone would get a ton of people watching at least the first season of it, and while the budget would be pretty generous by TV standards, it's still limited compared to blockbuster movie budgets. That could force some economy and creativity in depictions (as John Garth pointed out once, the Jackson movies tended to try and capture some of Tolkien's more evocative and grandeur depictions by making everything enormous). 

I say that as someone who likes the movies and really likes the Fellowship of the Ring movie still. 

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