Jump to content
The Marquis de Leech

LOTR prequel TV series 2.0

Recommended Posts

42 minutes ago, Safiya said:

I must admit when I first heard about the new series I tuned out when they started talking about a young Aragorn lol.  As much as I like Aragorn, no thanks, no more 3rd Age thank you.

Yeah, no one I spoke to at the time was enthused by the prospect either, myself included!

I remember thinking, "no way has Amazon paid $250 million up front for the rights and committed to a $1 billion five-season run and a possible spin-off show, which Bezos hopes will be the next GoT, for a story about Young Aragorn's travels before the exciting, epic action of the War of the Ring actually takes place".

It has since turned out that the early "young Aragorn" rumours were nothing but spurious gossip emanating from fansite TORN (The One Ring.Net), a website that has since been woefully inacurate and misleading on every bit of rumour about this show (how the mighty have fallen, back in it's heyday it had been a reliable source of insider Intel on New Line).

Shippey's recent interview seems to imply that the deal the Tolkien Estate shopped around in 2017 to different networks including Amazon, HBO, Netflix and others had always been for a specifically "Second Age" TV adaption.

By that logic, it never could have been "Young Aragorn", even fleetingly, to start out with. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think the original mistake was understandable, but TORN doubled down on it and reported a supposition as fact, which was a mistake.

We know that MGM badly wanted a film trilogy to make maximum bank, but Del Toro and Jackson felt that there was only enough material in The Hobbit for two films max. They proposed a "bridging film" from The Hobbit to LotR as a stopgap. The bridging film would be about young Aragorn joining forces with Legolas, setting a watch on the Shire and trying to find Gollum etc. At some point Del Toro and Jackson convinced the studios to drop that idea and just do The Hobbit as two movies. Del Toro then left, Jackson agreed to direct, production began and then mysteriously the projected expanded to three movies based on The Hobbit alone. The working theory, to some extent supported by things like the Ellis documentary, is that MGM demanded three movies based on The Hobbit with much greater continuity to the LotR trilogy, Del Toro walked in anger (under an NDA so he couldn't say anything) and Jackson was blackmailed into taking over because they would pull production from New Zealand altogether if he didn't. The announcement of three movies was then delayed.

We know how that ended up, but it did mean that New Line/Warners had a treatment for an "adventures of Young Aragorn" story right there on file, and when Amazon sublicensed the rights from New Line that treatment may have been available to them. In fact, it may have even been discussed or used as a proof of concept, even if the ultimate idea was that they were always going to do something else. I think TORN just ran with the idea that this was definitely 100% happening when it was no more than a guess, and perhaps a feeling that there had been some kind of masterplan going back to the making of the Hobbit movies because of how the last film ended (with Thranduil sending Legolas to Aragorn).

Edited by Werthead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Krishtotter said:

Shippey's recent interview seems to imply that the deal the Tolkien Estate shopped around in 2017 to different networks including Amazon, HBO, Netflix and others had always been for a specifically "Second Age" TV adaption.

Why the Second Age, I wonder? Is it because they want to test the waters with a property less valuable than the Third Age? I’d guess they are positioning the so-called Great Tales Trilogy to be made into movies, but IMO the First Age would do better as a TV series. (But I may be the odd duck, here; I would like to see The Hobbit + The LR redone as a TV series. Eventually!)

But anyway, since it is the Second Age, is anyone other than me thinking or talking about ‘The Notion Club Papers’? It’s the best!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Falconer said:

Why the Second Age, I wonder? Is it because they want to test the waters with a property less valuable than the Third Age? I’d guess they are positioning the so-called Great Tales Trilogy to be made into movies, but IMO the First Age would do better as a TV series. (But I may be the odd duck, here; I would like to see The Hobbit + The LR redone as a TV series. Eventually!)

But anyway, since it is the Second Age, is anyone other than me thinking or talking about ‘The Notion Club Papers’? It’s the best!!

We really can't say for sure, other than speculative theorising (as with much regarding this uber-secretive, multi-party deal between Amazon, the Tolkien Estate, New Line, Harper Collins and Warner Bros).

But what we do know is that the deal negotiated was for a "five-season commitment with the potential of a spin-off series".

Some have speculated that Amazon is keeping the Silmarillion off-limits for now but potentially could hand over rights for a spin-off involving the First Age if Amazon does well by this Second Age show and brings the Estate rich dividends.

While JRR Tolkien himself was largely pro-adaption of his work (he sold exclusive worldwide rights for The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969 and in a letter to the publisher Milton Waldman, 1951, expressed his openness to the idea of other artists embellishing the parts of his legendarium that he had only sketched: "I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for OTHER MINDS and hands, wielding paint and music and drama."), his son Christopher famously wasn't.

And not without justification, after all just consider the lacklustre and disappointing affair that was the Hobbit trilogy and the way Warner Bros effectively used corporate power to coerce a sovereign nation, New Zealand, into changing its labour laws (basically blackmailing them with the threat of the Middle-earth franchise being removed). 

But, the point being, Christopher Tolkien resigned as director of the Tolkien Estate in 2017 and the Estate is now led by younger family members who are thought to be much more favourable to "adaptions". 

So, I think this does open up an avenue for future rights being siphoned off if Amazon makes a success of this Second Age show.

Edited by Krishtotter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Falconer said:

But anyway, since it is the Second Age, is anyone other than me thinking or talking about ‘The Notion Club Papers’? It’s the best!!

I do find it a fascinating read and 'intellectual exercise' on Tolkien's part. 

The whole idea of 'pre-incarnation' and characters having lucid dreams that are really visions about past lives which reach all the way back (through a series of previous incarnations) to the tsunami that sinks Númenor-Atlantis, with the protagonist Lowdham discovering he is really the latest incarnation of Elendil himself...its a unique take on Tolkien's world-building. 

In the midst of this rather engrossing 'frame' narrative, we learn a great deal from these 'visions' about Númenor and its language (Adûnaic). 

I also like the earlier work from which it was re-written, The Lost Road. There is an excellent set of chapters from this unfinished novel, known as The Númenórean Chapters, which provide us with Tolkien's only LoTR-style prose treatment (as opposed to the more chronicle-like, annalistic style of the Akallabeth) complete with extensive dialogue sections, of Elendil and his experiences under the rule of Sauron in Númenor as the preparations are being made for Ar-Pharazon, the Usurper King, to launch his fleet against the Valar and at the same time secret attempts at rebellion and the plan to flee into exile on the part of the Faithful. 

There are some really insightful interactions between Elendil and one of his sons here i.e. 

 

Quote

 

Elendil looked up; and then swiftly climbed another flight of stone steps at the northern end of the cove... Flat upon the stone with his chin in his hands lay a youth. He was looking out to sea, and did not turn his head as his father came up and sat down on the seat...

He looked down on the white body before him. It was dear to him, and beautiful. Herendil [Isildur] was naked, for he had been diving from the high point, being a daring diver and proud of his skill. It seemed suddenly to Elendil that the lad had grown over night, almost out of knowledge.

'Of what are you dreaming, Herendil, that your ears hear not?'

'I am thinking; I am not dreaming. I am a child no longer.'...

'How you have grown!' he said. 'You have the makings of a mighty man, and have nearly finished the making.'

'Why do you mock me?' said the boy. 'You know I am dark, and smaller than most others of my year. And that is a trouble to me. I stand barely to the shoulder of Almariel, whose hair is of shining gold, and she is a maiden, and of my own age. We hold that we are of the blood of kings, but I tell thee thy friends' sons make a jest of me and call me Terendul - slender and dark; and they say I have Eressean blood, or that I am half-Noldor. And that is not said with love in these days. It is but a step from being called half an Elf to being called Godfearing; and that is dangerous....'

There was a silence. At length Herendil spoke again: 'Of whom do you say that our king, Tarkalion [Ar-Pharazon], is descended?'

'From Earendel the mariner, son of Tuor the mighty who was lost in these seas.'...

[Herendil] 'They [the followers of Sauron] say now that the tale was altered by the Eresseans, who are slaves of the Lords [Valar]: that in truth Earendel was an adventurer, and showed us the way, and that the Lords of the West took him captive for that reason; and his work is perforce unfinished. Therefore the son of Earendel, our king, should complete it. They wish to do what has been long left undone.'

'What is that?'

'You know: to set foot in the far West, and not withdraw it. To conquer new realms for our race, and ease the pressure of this peopled island, where every road is trodden hard, and every tree and grass-blade counted. To be free, and masters of the world. To escape the shadow of sameness, and of ending. We would make our king Lord of the West. Death comes here slow and seldom; yet it comes. The land is only a cage gilded to look like Paradise.' ...

'You know, I suppose, that all hearts in Numenor are not drawn to Sauron? '

'Yes. There are fools even in Numenor,' said Herendil, in a lowered voice. 'But why speak of such things in this open place? Do you wish to bring evil on me?'

'I bring no evil,' said Elendil. 'That is thrust upon us: the choice between evils: the first fruits of war. But look, Herendil!...You are but four twelves, and were but a small child when Sauron came. You do not understand what days were like before then. You cannot choose in ignorance.'

'But others of greater age and knowledge than mine - or thine - have chosen,' said Herendil. 'And they say that history confirms them, and that Sauron has thrown a new light on history. Sauron knows history, all history.'

'Sauron knows, verily; but he twists knowledge. Sauron is a liar! ' Growing anger caused Elendil to raise his voice as he spoke. The words rang out as a challenge.

'You are mad,' said his son, turning at last upon his side and facing Elendil, with dread and fear in his eyes. 'Do not say such things to me! They might, they might...'

'Who are they, and what might they do?' said Elendil, but a chill fear passed from his son's eyes to his own heart.

'Do not ask! And do not speak - so loud! ' Herendil turned away, and lay prone with his face buried in his hands. 'You know it is dangerous - to us all. Whatever he be, Sauron is mighty, and has ears. I fear the dungeons. And I love thee, I love thee. Atarinya tye-melane.'

Atarinya tye-melane, my father, I love thee: the words sounded strange, but sweet: they smote Elendil's heart.

(The Númenórean Chapters (ii)" (HoME 5) p. 57 - 76)

 

 

Edited by Krishtotter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, great stuff! Here is a great passage from ‘The Notion Club Papers’:

Quote

Narîka ’nBâri ’nAdûn yanâkhim,’ he shouted, lifting up both his arms. ‘The Eagles of the Lords of the West are at hand!’

Then all at once Jeremy began to speak. ‘Now I see!’ he said. ‘I see it all. The ships have set sail at last. Woe to the time! Behold, the mountain smokes and the earth trembles!’

He paused, and we sat staring, oppressed as by the oncoming of doom. The voices of the storm drew nearer. Then Jeremy began again.

‘Woe to this time and the fell counsels of Zigûr! The King hath set forth his might against the Lords of the West. The fleets of the Númenoreans are like a land of many islands; their masts are like the stems of a forest; their sails are golden and black. Night is coming. They have gone against Avallóni with naked swords. All the world waiteth. Why do the Lords of the West make no sign?’

There was a dazzle of lightning and a deafening crash.

‘Behold! Now the black wrath is come upon us out of the West. The Eagles of the Powers of the World have arisen in anger. The Lords have spoken to Eru, and the fate of the World is changed!’

‘Do you not hear the wind coming and the roaring of the sea?’ said Lowdham.

‘Do you not see the wings of the Eagles, and their eyes like thunderbolts and their claws like forks of fire?’ said Jeremy. ‘See! The abyss openeth. The sea falls. The mountains lean over. Urid yakalubim!’ He got up unsteadily, and Lowdham took his hand, and drew him towards him, as if to protect him. Together they went to the window and stood there peering out, talking to one another in a strange tongue. Irresistibly I was reminded of two people hanging over the side of a ship. But suddenly with a cry they turned away, and knelt down covering their eyes.

‘The glory hath fallen into the deep waters,’ said Jeremy weeping.

‘Still the eagles pursue us,’ said Lowdham. ‘The wind is like the end of the world, and the waves are like mountains moving. We go into darkness.’

The drama!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×