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Old 11-13-2017, 01:10 PM   #1
Victariongreyjoy
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Lord of the Rings TV series gets multi-season order at Amazon

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The company has made a multi-season production commitment to a television adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings.

It’s a major deal securing one of the biggest brands in pop culture for what’s likely to be one of the most expensive TV shows ever made.

But there’s a catch, creatively speaking: The series will explore storylines set before the events in the first LOTR novel, The Fellowship of the Ring. In other words: The war to destroy the One Ring as chronicled in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy of films will not be told in the TV version. So this story is either set before The Hobbit or in between The Hobbit and LOTR.

This something we’ve seen with other recent TV series when they tackle major cinematic titles with certain rights restrictions. Like how Fox’s Gotham can tell the story of young Bruce Wayne but not Batman, how FX’s Legion and Fox’s The Gifted have to avoid using the term “X-Men” even though they’re X-Men projects, or how Syfy’s upcoming series based on The Purge films will be set in between actual Purges.

Amazon’s deal includes a potential addition of a spin-off series as well.


“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,” said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. “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.”
http://ew.com/tv/2017/11/13/lord-of-...ngs-tv-series/
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:25 PM   #2
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It’s a major deal securing one of the biggest brands in pop culture for what’s likely to be one of the most expensive TV shows ever made.
Therein lies the key. There's money, boys! Yee Haw!

*Sigh* I just can't separate the motives from the actual product. I had the same issue with PJ's movies when I first learned of their coming, When profit is the objective in adaptations of existing works, changes are going to be allowed based on the bottom line, and fidelity to the spirit of the original goes right out the (round) window. They can bloody well keep it.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:25 PM   #3
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I'm somewhat comforted by the fact that the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is already known to be a big fan of the fantasy genre and that he was directly involved in discussing this project with the Tolkien Estate and Trust. I want to believe that he is passionate about these works and will try to use his position to keep things as canon as possible. Sure, it is ultimately about the money in the end, but the Matt Galsor snippet from the Estate and HarperCollins representative gives me hope:

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"...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.”
What gets my eyebrow raised is the fact that the Tolkien Estate was the one that approached Amazon, Netflix, HBO, etc. to begin with. To me this could be either very exciting in that the Estate wants to be involved in the creation of a series or troubling if the case is that the Estate is interested more in the financial gain of the project and would, therefore, be more likely to accept more... well... Tauriels.

http://deadline.com/2017/11/amazon-t...nt-1202207065/
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:41 PM   #4
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Therein lies the key. There's money, boys! Yee Haw!

*Sigh* I just can't separate the motives from the actual product. I had the same issue with PJ's movies when I first learned of their coming, When profit is the objective in adaptations of existing works, changes are going to be allowed based on the bottom line, and fidelity to the spirit of the original goes right out the (round) window. They can bloody well keep it.
I'm sorry.... What? Literally every project has the goal to make money. If they did not, they would not be made in the first place. Do you not understand capitalism?
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:57 PM   #5
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It is a fearsome struggle to constrain myself to socially acceptable vocabulary to describe my reaction to this news.

There is no reason for somebody who respects Tolkien's work to be optimistic about the end product.

Jeff Bezos being a "fan" of the fantasy genre could mean almost anything...in fact, I feel worse about it because you get some crazy ideas being a "fan" of something.

That the focus of this project is going to be the vaporous netherworld of "before the Fellowship of the Ring" is just a blanket statement from the beginning that they intend to pull whatever they feel like pulling out of their hindquarters.

At least they are kind of honest about it.

Perhaps they will at least have enough of a sense of humor to rename Butterbur to Butterfinger.

EDIT: I figured out the best way to phrase my dismay, to wit: "I have a bad feeling that this TV series is going to make The Hobbit films look tasteful and well-crafted by comparison."

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Old 11-13-2017, 06:14 PM   #6
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So, after all, it is just a "glorified fan fiction" show, expanding little bits and pieces of narrative, not really an adaptation?

That destroys what little interest I had. All this will serve to do is perpetuate the cloying atmosphere of misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding Professor Tolkien's work - this one man's lifelong labour of love - in the public consciousness.

Of course, it's not being made for people like me. I'm sure it will please a certain kind of audience, however.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:20 PM   #7
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Ah, so it's not meant to be an adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" itself, but rather some sort of "Before the Fellowship" exploration of the characters' backstories, as detailed in the elusive Appendix X? And it's going to be the *most expensive series ever made?*

Sounds like fun...
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/11/lord-of-the-rings-tv-series-amazon-prequel
Still, all the younger wizards and elves of Middle Earth can’t guarantee that this Lord of the Rings TV series will be the next Game of Thrones. For one thing, the HBO series started as a very faithful adaptation with a built-in audience of loyal book fans.
See? It's not that difficult to understand what fans want in a book-based series.

And considering that GOT book fans forgave the show quite a few deviations given that it captures the essence, the same could be applied to other fandoms as well.



The other thing about "the new GOT" is that it threatens to turn into this: a competition between Tolkien's characters and GRRM's works over who is more badass, which is not a comparison that will yield anything productive.

Oh my god... this is the hybrid. Foreseen by the prophecy which speaks of a hybrid of two warrior fandoms, which threatens the existence of the universe. The hybrid risks stopping time itself! Watch for some doctor involved in the affair.
(Cheers to all the Whovians more patiently awaiting the Christmas special)
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:44 PM   #9
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I'm sorry.... What? Literally every project has the goal to make money. If they did not, they would not be made in the first place. Do you not understand capitalism?
I understand that money clouds judgement when people are making the call as to what to add, embellish, or cut from original works when adapting them to bigger, "better" media. If that's your thing, run with it. No drama.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:15 PM   #10
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And considering that GOT book fans forgave the show quite a few deviations given that it captures the essence, the same could be applied to other fandoms as well.
That's far from true in all corners of the fandom. There are places where there is frenzied rending of garments and gnashing of teeth at the changes...aggravated by the fact that the show is now at the point where we don't know what is a deviation and what isn't.

At least we didn't have to deal with that.
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:09 AM   #11
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Still convinced this will be a Sil adaptation. The Tolkien Estate don't own the film rights to LotR or The Hobbit, so they can't be involved in the sale of them to Amazon. It's Middle-earth related, so it's not Smith, or Niggle. And if Amazon have paid $200mil for the rights, its something significant. As to my feelings-well, it would be potentially amazing to see Feanor and the rebellion, the great wars, the Fall of Gondolin... but not if they're going for a GoT vibe.
That said, given that I avoid Amazon on principle, and will continue to do so until they sort out their business practices, its all a bit academic for me.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:45 AM   #12
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Still convinced this will be a Sil adaptation. The Tolkien Estate don't own the film rights to LotR or The Hobbit, so they can't be involved in the sale of them to Amazon.
Good point, but the article *calls* it a "LotR series" and says specifically that the deal concerns "global TV rights to 'Lord of the Rings'". Even the direct quote from the representative for the Estate and Harper Collins calls it "the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings".
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Old 11-14-2017, 02:17 AM   #13
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Good point, but the article *calls* it a "LotR series" and says specifically that the deal concerns "global TV rights to 'Lord of the Rings'". Even the direct quote from the representative for the Estate and Harper Collins calls it "the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings".
I'd take that mention of Lord of the Rings as a reference to something the public recognise. How many people know what the Silmarillion is, or would associate it with Lord of the Rings? And the main thing to keep in mind is that the rights to LotR still belong with the Zaentz Company, so what would Amazon be paying $200 mil to the Tolkien Estate for?
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:09 AM   #14
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My bet is on a young Aragorn, although some kind of adaptation of the Sil might be possible.

I guess if they really want to go full on Game of Thrones they could do the Kin-strife.

EDIT: I take it all back. It just hit me: The Children of Hurin.

It has the grimness, the unhappy ending, and the requisite incest.

EDIT EDIT: Although, who owns the rights to The Children of Hurin?

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Old 11-14-2017, 09:27 AM   #15
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My bet is on a young Aragorn, although some kind of adaptation of the Sil might be possible.

I guess if they really want to go full on Game of Thrones they could do the Kin-strife.
Warners have licensed the movie rights for the Aragorn story from Zaentz as it is, so there's no need for any Estate involvement, let alone the handing over of all that money to them. I wouldn't rule out some Third Age stuff, I'm just genuinely confused about what the Estate has to sell, if it isn't The Sil stuff.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:32 AM   #16
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Warners have licensed the movie rights for the Aragorn story from Zaentz as it is, so there's no need for any Estate involvement, let alone the handing over of all that money to them. I wouldn't rule out some Third Age stuff, I'm just genuinely confused about what the Estate has to sell, if it isn't The Sil stuff.
I've revised my original opinion (see above), but this does pose an interesting question of where the line is regarding what is considered included within a particular work.

The most generous interpretation would say that anything included in the appendices of LOTR could be considered off limits, but I can't think that interpretation would hold water because that would be so sweeping.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:38 AM   #17
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I can't substantiate this, but I feel like I remember there being some kind of grey area due to the substantial overlap between The Silmarillion and the Appendices.

I think I've mentioned before my "maybe I just dreamt it" impression that there was some stipulation that if a narrative element was mentioned in both the Appendices and The Silmarillion (or other material not part of the film rights) but not in the main text of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings it could not be adapted, but if it was mentioned in the body of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings proper it could be regardless of whether it was mentioned in The Silmarillion et al.

But as I say, I can't back that up. If there's any truth to it, it might explain the Estate's involvement, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm reaching.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:20 AM   #18
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1420!

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I can't substantiate this, but I feel like I remember there being some kind of grey area due to the substantial overlap between The Silmarillion and the Appendices.

I think I've mentioned before my "maybe I just dreamt it" impression that there was some stipulation that if a narrative element was mentioned in both the Appendices and The Silmarillion (or other material not part of the film rights) but not in the main text of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings it could not be adapted, but if it was mentioned in the body of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings proper it could be regardless of whether it was mentioned in The Silmarillion et al.

But as I say, I can't back that up. If there's any truth to it, it might explain the Estate's involvement, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm reaching.
I think I can recall one poster claiming this... but he wasn't exactly what I'd call a reliable source.

This affair seems to be getting more peculiar the more we hear about it, doesn't it? Is it possible Zaentz only holds the film rights and not the TV rights?
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:30 AM   #19
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I think I can recall one poster claiming this... but he wasn't exactly what I'd call a reliable source.

This affair seems to be getting more peculiar the more we hear about it, doesn't it? Is it possible Zaentz only holds the film rights and not the TV rights?
It's possible-but the Zaentz rights seen to cover video games as well as films, so I'd assume TV would be part of the rights as well. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midd...th_Enterprises
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:06 PM   #20
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The press release specifically states:

Quote:
"...Amazon studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings...Set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.”
The bold sections are my emphasis. It will not be The Silmarillion, because the Tolkien Estate has not made any statement regarding the sale of separate media rights to that book, of which Christopher Tolkien is technically co-author. So, prior to FotR, post-Silmarillion, with no mention of The Hobbit as a precursor to LotR whatsoever.

What is one left with then? Look to HoMe, and the Unfinished Tales, specifically Part III and Part IV dealing with the Third Age but divorced from the LotR Appendices in most instances. This fits the modus operandi of "unexplored stories" and "new storylines...preceding FotR", but does not require selling media rights to The Sil, and does not interfere with separate rights held by Tolkien Enterprises (Saul Zaentz) who own the multimedia rights to The Hobbit and LotR.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:22 PM   #21
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It's possible-but the Zaentz rights seen to cover video games as well as films, so I'd assume TV would be part of the rights as well. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midd...th_Enterprises
Well, that's the merchandising rights- what the court case was over- so not the same thing. However, film rights usually do include TV, AFAIK.
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:59 PM   #22
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Well, this explains a lot. C. Tolkien has resigned as Director of the Tolkien Estate...

https://io9.gizmodo.com/j-r-r-tolkie...sta-1820476459

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Old 11-15-2017, 07:46 PM   #23
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Well, this explains a lot. C. Tolkien has resigned as Director of the Tolkien Estate...

https://io9.gizmodo.com/j-r-r-tolkie...sta-1820476459

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Man.

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Given that Tolkien Estate incorporated in 2011 and Christopher Tolkien is no longer holding the reins, it looks to be open season for Tolkien films, shows, theme parks, or pretty much anything else you could imagine.
That pretty much nails it. My own opinion will not matter a whit to them, but I can at least ensure that I don't give them a penny of my money.
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Old 11-15-2017, 07:47 PM   #24
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Well, this explains a lot. C. Tolkien has resigned as Director of the Tolkien Estate...

https://io9.gizmodo.com/j-r-r-tolkie...sta-1820476459

The vultures didn't even wait for the body to get cold.
I wonder who's in charge now.

And it's something I've been thinking for a long time. As much as CJRT / the estate may have been disliked for forcing individual artists and businessmen and other simple people to stop publishing or close businesses that somehow impinge on the rights, he's gonna be missed, and missed a lot, now that he's not in control.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:16 PM   #25
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Well, this explains a lot. C. Tolkien has resigned as Director of the Tolkien Estate...

https://io9.gizmodo.com/j-r-r-tolkie...sta-1820476459

The vultures didn't even wait for the body to get cold.
Well...that's depressing...and the reaction of the corporate predators is hateful.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:35 PM   #26
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What did I tell you?

Well. I refer you all to my comment #5 on this thread.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:09 PM   #27
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Well. I refer you all to my comment #5 on this thread.
Holy bananas.
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Old 11-16-2017, 12:52 AM   #28
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I've always had mixed feelings about CT's approach to his father's work. For whatever reasons he tried to relegate the works to the realm of academe. I'm grateful he made the unpublished works available, but the accompanying mass of notes and commentary he added makes them (apart from the Sil) an horrific chore. He clearly hated the fact that his father's creation he been taken up by a bunch of hippies (many of them lefties too ), and sought to return them to their 'rightful' place, by handing them over to a bunch of professors. Most of the stuff he published would have been better if it had been put out with a basic 20 pp intro. The LotR movies (critical as I am of many parts of them) contain more of what touched the hearts of most book fans, than the interminable droning commentaries of CT, Flieger, and Hammond & Scull, et al
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:15 AM   #29
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I think the notes and commentary in The History of Middle-Earth series, providing a detailed explanation to more betterly understand the true state of the Silmarillion, its external history and related accounts, all of this is rather the point... given that we already have/had an "internal" version (the 1977 constructed Silmarillion), for what I call the reader's experience.

Add to that The Children of Hurin, of course this time presented as a one volume tale after all the fragments and commentaries had been published.

And if I want my "reader's experience" for Tuor's arrival in Gondolin for example (Unfinished Tales), it's pretty easy to skip the brief introduction and the end notes. Same goes for the early Fall of Gondolin published in The Book of Lost Tales II, for instance.


And Nerwen the oracle!

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Old 11-16-2017, 08:30 AM   #30
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Well, this explains a lot. C. Tolkien has resigned as Director of the Tolkien Estate...
That explains a lot indeed. I think the 2012 interview (mentioned in the article) suggests an attitude of resignation to the exploitation of his father's work, which seems fitting.

And, of course, without being flippant, isn't it a bit like a wise King of Númenor abdicating the throne in his old age, not trying to hang on forever? The responsibility then falls, as it should, upon future generations. The analogy fits all too well, I fear, given what happened in Númenor as the years passed and what's already happening now.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:31 AM   #31
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He clearly hated the fact that his father's creation he been taken up by a bunch of hippies (many of them lefties too )
CT, as a political animal, is most definitely not his father. Just take a gander at the causes the Tolkien Trust supports.

------------------

I would say, rather, that (especially in the wake of the movies) "He clearly hated the fact that his father's creation had been taken up by a bunch of sloped-forehead mouthbreathers." I would be rather upset at seeing the family silver being used by the mob for screwdrivers, spittoons and dog dishes (while all the while telling me what fans of my silver they are and what wonderful screwdrivers, spittoons and dog dishes it makes).

I think that CT (who after all was a professor) was determined that his father's writings be taken seriously, by scholars, and therefore he took a serious, scholarly approach to his editions. He was, after all, writing the history of his father's legendarium, and there's no way that barn's worth of fragments and unfinished revisions could have been presented coherently without extensive notes and commentary.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:37 AM   #32
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Well. I refer you all to my comment #5 on this thread.
Except you should have said "in a quarter or two" instead of a "year or two."
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:04 AM   #33
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He clearly hated the fact that his father's creation he been taken up by a bunch of hippies (many of them lefties too ), and sought to return them to their 'rightful' place, by handing them over to a bunch of professors.
I cannot remember if I have mentioned this before. In Denmark there was a group of very influential authors all named "Kløvedal" (Rivendell). They had all adopted the name in their youth when they lived together in a commune called (freely translated) Mao's Delight. The most prominent of them being Ebbe Kløvedal Reich and Troels Kløvedal.

Of course another well known Danish fan was the future Queen Margrethe II... I think that is what can be described as having a broad appeal.
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Old 11-16-2017, 02:22 PM   #34
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I will admit to being curious if the production team for the TV show will take the design aesthetic in a direction away from the designs laid out by Jackson and Co.

For example, being a dwarf, it has been very interesting to me to note that things like Jackson's idea that "dwarves don't build anything in circles, only octagons" has pervaded the fantasy genre so that idea now crops up almost everywhere.

I wonder if the new team will forge their own path aesthetically or if they will just follow in the footsteps of Jackson.

Of if, indeed, Jackson is going to end up being involved in the project in some way.

For some reason, the news about C. Tolkien has made me go back to my original idea that this series is going to focus on young Aragorn.
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Old 11-16-2017, 03:30 PM   #35
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I wouldn't hold my breath for Silmarillion anything, because in that case CT isn't just his father's executor, he's also the co-author and therefore enjoys an absolute veto no matter what the Estate's new management might want.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:16 PM   #36
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I wouldn't hold my breath for Silmarillion anything, because in that case CT isn't just his father's executor, he's also the co-author and therefore enjoys an absolute veto no matter what the Estate's new management might want.
That logic would definitively nix The Children of Hurin.

Young Aragorn looks ever more likely.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:49 PM   #37
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I wouldn't hold my breath for Silmarillion anything, because in that case CT isn't just his father's executor, he's also the co-author and therefore enjoys an absolute veto no matter what the Estate's new management might want.
What other books are there that they could draw on that are not co-authored by CJRT? Seems like a pretty limited selection - while he's alive at least to veto them. I suppose we're gonna see just how much made up stuff was actually "all in the appendices". At some point poor finite LOTR will get appendicitis.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:18 AM   #38
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I wouldn't hold my breath for Silmarillion anything, because in that case CT isn't just his father's executor, he's also the co-author and therefore enjoys an absolute veto no matter what the Estate's new management might want.
He also authorised, what, 300 plus changes to LotR for the 50th anniversary edition, which has now replaced the earlier versions, none of which add much, none authorised (obviously) by JRR, and almost none of which contribute very much, and seem to be mostly about CT staking some kind of claim. http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=11338

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Old 11-17-2017, 07:59 AM   #39
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Of if, indeed, Jackson is going to end up being involved in the project in some way.

For some reason, the news about C. Tolkien has made me go back to my original idea that this series is going to focus on young Aragorn.
Oh don't say it...our most dreadful imaginations usually become reality. Just when I thought The Hobbit would go in a different direction ("Oh it's going to be a Del Toro film"), Jackson gets his foot in the door and then comes along Boyens and Walsh again for the same recycled disaster.

I will wager there's a better chance Orlando Bloom is involved than PJ. All though, when it comes to anything Lord of the Rings-Hollywood industry relation, just when you think they're out of the picture...they flare back up.

I do think if they want the "events preceding the Fellowship" to be adapted, a TV series is a much better medium than whatever it is Jackson was trying to do with his Hobbit trilogy. The world is changing, gone are the days of the low-budget and extremely campy (but loveable in their own way) tv series.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:13 AM   #40
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Oh don't say it...our most dreadful imaginations usually become reality. Just when I thought The Hobbit would go in a different direction ("Oh it's going to be a Del Toro film"), Jackson gets his foot in the door and then comes along Boyens and Walsh again for the same recycled disaster.
I know.

Sort of against my will, I want to see this TV series be well done...not that I expect anything of the sort. Just setting myself up for the inevitable disappointment.

I can just see Jackson already trying to work his way into the project. I fear that for the low knowledge corporate types he would seem like a big prize to score for the project since his name is already so heavily tied to the brand, they would think they are ensuring the success of the show by bringing him on board.
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