New “Lord of the Rings” Movies Coming to Warner Bros. & New Line
Grab your stoutest friends and prepare a fellowship for a quest because multiple return trips to Middle-earth are currently being plotted.
Fresh details have emerged that Warner Bros. and New Line have struck a deal with Embracer Group AB, the folks who hold the film rights to the property, which will allow Warner Bros. and New Line to develop new features based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” books. Considering the abundant wealth of storylines, characters, and mythical history Tolkien packed into those works, there’s no shortage of cinematic opportunities to explore. Warner Bros. Discovery announced the news on an investor call on Thursday.
Embracer Group AB is a Swedish gaming company that acquired the rights to produce Lord of the Rings films, theme park attractions, games, merchandise, and live productions after it bought Middle-earth Enterprises last year from The Saul Zaentz Company.
Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy was a critical and commercial smash, igniting the passions of a legion of Tolkien’s fans and ushering in a huge swath of newcomers to Middle-earth, earning a combined $2.9 billion at the box office. Jackson’s third and final installment, Return of the King, won an Oscar for Best Picture in 2003. Jackson then delivered his The Hobbit trilogy between 2012 and 2014. Jackson and his Lord of the Rings creative partners Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh released a joint statement saying they are aware of the news and looking forward to learning more: “Warner Bros. and Embracer have kept us in the loop every step of the way. We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward.” Jackson, Boyens, and Walsh did not have any input in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series.
New Line currently has one Lord of the Rings project already lined up—the animated feature The War of the Rohirrim—which bows in 2024. As for any potential overlap between the new films and the Amazon series, it shouldn’t be an issue. Amazon’s series is focused on an entirely different era within the Lord of the Rings timeline, the Second Age, which takes place thousands of years before the adventures of Bilbo, Frodo, and the Fellowship of the Ring depicted in the films. Warner Bros. and New Line will almost certainly focus on the Third Age, when Tolkien’s most beloved creations lived and went on their adventures, including the wizard Gandalf (so memorably played by Ian McKellan in the films), the heroic Aragron (also memorably played by Viggo Mortensen) and many more.
Warner Bros. film heads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy released a statement saying they’re not looking to simply redo what Jackson accomplished but are excited to tap into the vast world Tolkien created for new narrative opportunities: “Twenty years ago, New Line took an unprecedented leap of faith to realize the incredible stories, characters and world of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen. The result was a landmark series of films that have been embraced by generations of fans. But for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien remains largely unexplored on film. The opportunity to invite fans deeper into the cinematic world of Middle-earth is an honor, and we are excited to partner with Middle-earth Enterprises and Embracer on this adventure.”
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Featured image: Lord of the Rings theatrical poster. Courtesy Warner Bros./New Line.