Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LOTR

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Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LOTR

Postby Telemachos » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:31 pm

Well hi everyone! It's been quite a long time. Seems like there are still a few familiar faces here.

A bit of unexpected and potentially fascinating news -- the thread title says it all.

http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/lord-of ... 202606519/
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby oldtoby » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:50 pm

Are you new? :P
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Telemachos » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:02 pm

What if I am? :shock:

Some more tidbits: apparently the Tolkien Estate is involved (?!) and is asking $250m+ for the rights alone.

http://deadline.com/2017/11/lord-of-the ... 202201636/
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby oldtoby » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:59 pm

your name isnt new. how do we know that you are you? maybe you are just some new person, some ruffian who killed Tele and took his clothes? what are your thoughts on squint eyed southerners? hmmm? hmmm!!!???
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby priell3 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:28 pm

Just talk right now. Probably years before anything comes to screen.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Telemachos » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:31 pm

oldtoby wrote:your name isnt new. how do we know that you are you? maybe you are just some new person, some ruffian who killed Tele and took his clothes? what are your thoughts on squint eyed southerners? hmmm? hmmm!!!???



So what if I killed that old fool Tele! He was a scurvy knave and a revisionist at heart, and nothing good ever comes from that.

Maybe now Legolas can finally be the stunning brunette he was always intended to be.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Thewhitetree » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:40 pm

Iiiiiiinteresting... I guess the real question here is yet again: Tom Bombadil or NO Tom Bombadil?
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby priell3 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:59 pm

Thewhitetree wrote:Iiiiiiinteresting... I guess the real question here is yet again: Tom Bombadil or NO Tom Bombadil?


I want faithfulness and details down to the smallest Mallorn leaf.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Telemachos » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:53 am

Well, it's official. Multi-season commitment. Partners include the Tolkien Estate, HarperCollins, and New Line. The Tolkien Estate gets somewhere around 200m for licensing fees alone (crazy!).

http://deadline.com/2017/11/amazon-the- ... 202207065/
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby bornilon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:08 pm

Absolutely fascinating. So it's to be a prequel? And Amazon was approached by the Tolkien Estate for this venture? The mind boggles...
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Telemachos » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:11 pm

bornilon wrote:Absolutely fascinating. So it's to be a prequel? And Amazon was approached by the Tolkien Estate for this venture? The mind boggles...


Not a prequel, a straight-up remake/reimagining/what-have-you.

edit: huh, I stand corrected. That info wasn’t in the Deadline article but you’re right, Variety directly says that. Wild. I have no idea how they’ll do this.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby bornilon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:56 pm

The thing I find most intriguing is the apparent up-front involvement of the Tolkien Estate and Trust. Given their somewhat fraught history with past adaptations, I'm amazed that they seem to have been the instigators of this deal. But I suppose it's possible they've just decided to back the truck up to Amazon's vault right at the beginning rather than having to sue for their cut after the fact...
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Celebrindae » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:10 pm

From Variety:

Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The deal also includes a potential additional spin-off series .... “Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”


So this kinda sounds like that 'bridge' movie idea that PJ was talking about at one point, using material from the appendices to fill in the time between the end of the Hobbit and the start of LotR. I actually think this is a better idea than a straight adaptation, which would inevitably have suffered from constant comparison to the movies, whereas this will have more freedom to be its own thing (I mean it's basically the same pitch as the TV show Hannibal, which was also a loose prequel-type deal, and turned out to be completely brilliant). And obviously they'll need to have some really good writers etc, but it does sound like they're aiming pretty high with this so hopefully that means they're going to put in the effort and the resources to make something worthwhile rather than just a cheap cash-in. I'm cautiously optimistic.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby summoned » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:24 pm

Presumably Amazon wants its own Game of Thrones equivalent is the motivation behind this. If that is a basis for comparison, and we assume that this would be multiple seasons, then there should be at least one major battle shown on-screen per season. If they are going to base this on actual published/canon material from Tolkien, and when I say published/canon, I mean the barest minimum inclusion -- anything mentioned in passing, in a chronicle, etc. -- what battles are going to have the scale and the stakes to merit Inclusion?

I realize that battles are not the point of Tolkien, but in terms of plotting these seasons, I am very curious about what they are going to include as well as where in the chronology these shows are going to be set.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby here2fore » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:43 pm

If it is a prequel to LOTR as reported, then I'm guessing they used "Lord of the Rings" for recognition purposes only. And since the Tolkien estate was involved, that tells me it isn't merely a prequel to LOTR (which, uh, would be The Hobbit ... been done anyway) but must draw from the Silmarillion. Old timers here known that PJ had to be careful not to tread on Sil material, being as New Line didn't have the rights.

As the Deadline.com link reports, it was only after the Tolkien estate and HarperCollins finished suing various players in the Hobbit and LOTR universe, it shopped its rights, along with pal HarperCollins and frenemy NewLine. I guess that Warner Bros' New Line is involved since ROTK has those precious appendices that summarize much of the Sil history.

Thus, with Amazon's deep pockets, this could potentially be GoT on steroids, since the Silmarillion and other tales owned by Tolkien estate span eons. Only trick is to flesh it all out. That and decide how many seasons they want to run with.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Denethor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:03 am

The most interesting thing is the involvement of the Tolkien Estate. Christopher Tolkien of all people must have approved this.

Which, seeing as the only clue we have is that this TV series is set prior to Rings, leads me to possibly guess at a stab at the Silmarillion or Numenor - with Christopher having some sort of veto power. I honestly can't imagine the Estate having anything to do with a fanficcy series.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Razorback » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:59 am

It would appear the licensing rights will allow for what could be an ENDLESS stream of Tolkien content in the future.

We thought the early 2000s was the height of Tolkien in the live-action universe but that was a drop in the bucket.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Telemachos » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:49 am

Denethor wrote:The most interesting thing is the involvement of the Tolkien Estate. Christopher Tolkien of all people must have approved this.

Which, seeing as the only clue we have is that this TV series is set prior to Rings, leads me to possibly guess at a stab at the Silmarillion or Numenor - with Christopher having some sort of veto power. I honestly can't imagine the Estate having anything to do with a fanficcy series.


According to TORN, CT just resigned from the Tolkien Estate:

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11 ... en-estate/
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby here2fore » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:08 am

Telemachos wrote:According to TORN, CT just resigned from the Tolkien Estate:

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11 ... en-estate/


Whoa. Great link:

Another important thing to note here, and another piece of the puzzle, is that the television rights to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were NOT sold when J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights in 1969. Those rights were for motion pictures. ...
This opens up Tolkien and Middle-earth as possible franchises in the same way that Harry Potter’s world is a place you can visit at Universal Studios or that Disney will soon have a Star Wars area. There are few properties in the world that can be talked about in the same way as Middle-earth. Warner Bros. see the value and so does Amazon. ...
That doesn’t mean the Tolkien Estate will move toward making the rights to “Beren And Luthien” available but it does mean my wish to produce “The Silmarillion” as HBO series is slightly less impossible than it was before. That is what has changed really. Things once impossible are now possible.

The estate may elect to only allow more content based solely on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Or they may carefully cultivate the entire library.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby here2fore » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:31 am

Telemachos wrote:According to TORN, CT just resigned from the Tolkien Estate:

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11 ... en-estate/


And that link references this source link:
https://middle-earth.xenite.org/christo ... en-estate/

Which speculates:
Early reports indicate that the first Amazon television series will probably be set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings ...
Amazon doesn’t need to have rights to everything in the Tolkien arcana to milk this material for decades. They just need the appendices and creative license to “fill in the gaps”.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby notlistening » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:29 pm

As Tooks said elsewhere, this will probably turn us all into raging purists.

After the mess that was made of Shannara Chronicle and Legend of the Seeker series, they will need very good script writers.

PS: Nice to see you Tele!
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Denethor » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:19 pm

Telemachos wrote:
Denethor wrote:The most interesting thing is the involvement of the Tolkien Estate. Christopher Tolkien of all people must have approved this.

Which, seeing as the only clue we have is that this TV series is set prior to Rings, leads me to possibly guess at a stab at the Silmarillion or Numenor - with Christopher having some sort of veto power. I honestly can't imagine the Estate having anything to do with a fanficcy series.


According to TORN, CT just resigned from the Tolkien Estate:

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11 ... en-estate/


Dear Eru. The floodgates have just opened.

That, combined with the revelation that the TV rights weren't sold back in 1968, sinks my hypothesis that this is going to be based on First or Second Age material. It is definitely looking much more fanficcy now.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Denethor » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:20 pm

notlistening wrote:As Tooks said elsewhere, this will probably turn us all into raging purists.

After the mess that was made of Shannara Chronicle and Legend of the Seeker series, they will need very good script writers.

PS: Nice to see you Tele!


On the bright side, it might mean a TORC revival.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Telemachos » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:21 am

notlistening wrote:As Tooks said elsewhere, this will probably turn us all into raging purists.

After the mess that was made of Shannara Chronicle and Legend of the Seeker series, they will need very good script writers.

PS: Nice to see you Tele!


Nice to see you as well! :)

And you too, Denethor!

I don't know where this Amazon series will go, but I agree that someone will probably get the rights to the Silmarillion sooner or later. With cinematic universes being the hot trend these days, I wouldn't be surprised to see WB (or another studio, but probably WB) try to acquire it and develop a whole slew of movies.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby ngaur » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:47 pm

So the world hasn't tired of the sword and sorcery epics yet.

In historic move, Christopher Tolkien resigns as director of Tolkien Estate


Is Christopher Tolkiens resignation considered historic because it happened more than two months ago? Because of the deal with Amazon? Because he spent the last decade not selling the Silmarillion rights? (In the decades before the LotRs movies I can't imagine anyone beeing the least bit interested in making a Silmarillion series.)

Anyway, with the money Amazon is forking out for this I expect we'll have prodigious production coming our way.

In a number of years or so.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Denethor » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:31 pm

ngaur wrote:So the world hasn't tired of the sword and sorcery epics yet.

In historic move, Christopher Tolkien resigns as director of Tolkien Estate


Is Christopher Tolkiens resignation considered historic because it happened more than two months ago? Because of the deal with Amazon? Because he spent the last decade not selling the Silmarillion rights? (In the decades before the LotRs movies I can't imagine anyone beeing the least bit interested in making a Silmarillion series.)

Anyway, with the money Amazon is forking out for this I expect we'll have prodigious production coming our way.

In a number of years or so.


It's historic because it's been nigh on half a century since the adaption rights to any part of J.R.R. Tolkien's work were sold, and a large part of that is the protective policy Christopher adopted with regard to his father's work (to be honest, I was expecting Christopher to have succession planned to keep similar minded people in control). Had Christopher had the more laissez faire attitude that Priscilla clearly has, I think people might have seen the "franchise potential" much earlier - probably an earlier live-action Rings, and at least some stab at First and Second Age material.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby solicitr » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:31 am

It would be interesting to know the dynamic going on with the Tolkien Estate. Did Christopher retire, and then the more money-hungry members made their move? Was he forced out? Did he resign in disgust when it was clear he couldn't stop it?

I wouldn't exclude the possibility that the family's lawyers started using that ominous phrase "fiduciary duty," as the number of the Professor's great-grandchildren of legal age continued to increase. An executor or trustee is under a legal obligation to increase the value of the estate or trust, and (at least in Anglo-American law), "value" is measured entirely in cash, not taste.

The involvement of New Line argues for some sort of tie-in to the Jacksonverse. Anything First Age is still out, for now, since Christopher as co-author holds absolute veto over that material.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Denethor » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:31 pm

solicitr wrote:It would be interesting to know the dynamic going on with the Tolkien Estate. Did Christopher retire, and then the more money-hungry members made their move? Was he forced out? Did he resign in disgust when it was clear he couldn't stop it?

I wouldn't exclude the possibility that the family's lawyers started using that ominous phrase "fiduciary duty," as the number of the Professor's great-grandchildren of legal age continued to increase. An executor or trustee is under a legal obligation to increase the value of the estate or trust, and (at least in Anglo-American law), "value" is measured entirely in cash, not taste.

The involvement of New Line argues for some sort of tie-in to the Jacksonverse. Anything First Age is still out, for now, since Christopher as co-author holds absolute veto over that material.


Christopher alluded to Beren and Luthien being his last big editorial attempt, so I think at nearly 93, he decided to call it a day on his own accord. In so far as there were family issues, it might have been a case of people arguing that the Estate would be in a better position to oversee things if it were actually involved.

I would be surprised if British trust law came into play here. In New Zealand (which inherited its legal system from the UK), the test is whether the trustees acted prudently in deciding where and how to invest - it doesn't factor in eventual monetary performance, and I would honestly be surprised if Christopher's refusal to sell rights constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty.

As for Christopher's co-authorship status, he was the editor of The Silmarillion, not the writer. The issue has yet to be tested - it potentially also applies to Guy Gavriel Kay too.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby solicitr » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:31 pm

Kay was a hired employee, = no share in the copyright.

I think Voronwe would agree that CT had almost as much to do with the creation of the published Silmarillion as his father.
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Re: Amazon & Warner Bros. in talks for a TV adaptation of LO

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:07 am

Yes. And I certainly agree that there is no way that Guy Kay would have any copyright rights, since he is not even listed as a co-editor. I'm not an intellectual property attorney, and I don't know whether there is any precedent one way or another as to whether someone listed as an editor rather than a co-author would have the same copyright rights as a co-author. Nor do I know whether Christopher's continued role as his father's literary executor would allow him to exercise control over his father's copyright rights now that he no longer has a formal role with the Estate; however, I doubt it.
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