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Old 04-01-2019, 02:08 AM   #1
Herald of Mandos
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Pipe Latest news on Amazon's "Lord of the Rings" series

I'm sure everyone here has been following this pretty closely, but have you heard about the latest definitely almost certainly happening development? What do you think? Is it too early to start pouring the victory swarfega?

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Amazon Studios' recent release of stunning new maps of Middle-earth has the Tolkien world in a spin- as has their cryptic final statement, "Welcome to the Second Age," suggesting to some that the upcoming "Lord of the Rings" series might actually be a sequel to the award-winning film trilogy. But all this pales besides Amazon's latest coup- the return of Peter Jackson to the world of Middle-earth.

Last year, Jackson quashed similar rumours, but Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke says all that has changed. "We're in the middle of talking about that right now, figuring out just how he might want to be involved. We have big plans for this series- I don't know that it will match "The Lord of the Rings", but I think what you’ll see is the film strategy will evolve; the aperture will widen on the size of the audience that we’re going to draw in.”

Jackson himself was more reticent. "Look," he told Deadline, "why would I want anything to do with Middle-earth or Tolkien ever again after the interminable nightmare that was 'The Hobbit' production? I regularly wake in a cold sweat dreaming that I'm... still... making... those films... and it's never... ever... going to end... oh god!"

However, Salke attributes this to Jackson's impish sense of humour. "When Peter says there's 'nothing happening' with him on the series, that he's 'not involved at all', that's just his way of saying 'not yet'". She adds that Amazon representatives have been unobtrusively visiting Peter Jackson's home and studio in New Zealand, expansive location of the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" movies. "Our strategy is evolving, we're using the telephoto lens and covering all the angles. In fact we've been able to get a lot of very interesting angles that Peter doesn't even know about yet. But he will."

Although secrecy around the project has been tight, Salke did let slip a tasty tidbit: the still unnamed "Second Age" series will be a prequel after all. The story, which she describes as "somewhere" between a faithful adaptation and an original work, is not finalised but will probably centre on Aragorn's youth in Númenor, his doomed romance with Princess Míriel, his first experience of war in the Battle of the Last Alliance and the traumatic betrayal of his father, Isildur, which led him to renounce the throne of Gondor.

"Sounds like a horrible travesty," Peter Jackson joked. "I'm still smarting from the flak I got over the stuff we added to... to those films but at least some of that really was in the Appendices! Why would I want to put my name on this trashy piece of glorified fan-fiction?"

Why indeed? Humour aside, Jennifer Salke explains that Jackson, "will have every incentive to cooperate, especially once we show him the pictures, er, I mean, put him in the picture. We're in dialogue with him now, helping him see where his interests really lie.

He'll be working with us, all right. If he knows what's good for him."
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:17 AM   #2
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Sounds good to me! Tolkien's whole 'and then three thousand years passed between the interesting parts' premise was always pretty dumb, so I'm glad to see they're streamlining it, as he should have done in the first place. (Of course, Isildur as 'the last king of Gondor' was already in RotK-M, so Jackson as ever was prescient on this!)

Delighted to hear PJ will be back - I hope he has some more of his amazing cameos! Ooh, idea - what if they got Andy Serkis to play Ar-Pharazon? That way, we could avoid having a physical Sauron (another of Tolkien's goofy ideas that Jackson rightly fixed), and just have him as a voice in Pharazon's head. Serkis'd be great at that.

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Old 04-01-2019, 04:32 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Sounds good to me! Tolkien's whole 'and then three thousand years passed between the interesting parts' premise was always pretty dumb, so I'm glad to see they're streamlining it, as he should have done in the first place. (Of course, Isildur as 'the last king of Gondor' was already in RotK-M, so Jackson as ever was prescient on this!)

Delighted to hear PJ will be back - I hope he has some more of his amazing cameos! Ooh, idea - what if they got Andy Serkis to play Ar-Pharazon? That way, we could avoid having a physical Sauron (another of Tolkien's goofy ideas that Jackson rightly fixed), and just have him as a voice in Pharazon's head. Serkis'd be great at that.

hS
A CGI Ar-Pharazôn? Why not?
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:34 AM   #4
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A CGI Ar-Pharazôn? Why not?
I'm only behind this if my namesake is included, and voiced by Ryan Reynolds.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:43 PM   #5
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:02 AM   #6
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I hear the latest date for this to air is in 2021. As the deal is production has to start within a certain timeframe else the Tolkien estate walks away with all the money.

Amazon is probably busy casting and setting up the set infrastructure and the like.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:36 PM   #7
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I hear the latest date for this to air is in 2021. As the deal is production has to start within a certain timeframe else the Tolkien estate walks away with all the money.

Amazon is probably busy casting and setting up the set infrastructure and the like.
I wonder if I can file a lawsuit claiming Tolkien gave me the rights to all his characters and Middle Earth™ in a past life. Think that'd tie things up long enough?
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:31 PM   #8
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You'd have to prove you were reincarnated and that the past life was you and if you couldn't do that, your suit would be dismissed.
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:56 PM   #9
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You'd have to prove you were reincarnated and that the past life was you and if you couldn't do that, your suit would be dismissed.
In addition, in your previous life you had to have pushed a Balrog off the side of a mountain. It's in the legal code.
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:22 PM   #10
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In addition, in your previous life you had to have pushed a Balrog off the side of a mountain. It's in the legal code.
But only if you come to court wearing the Hogwarts sorting hat.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:05 PM   #11
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I don't know if any of you were watching Game of Thrones, and I won't issue any spoilers, but...episode 5...wow. Ummm...that was...completely unnecessary.

And that should be a cautionary tale for this new Middle-earth monstrosity Amazon is erecting skyward like the tower of Babel. George RR Martin never finished his story, and the GoT franchise writers have seemed to throw caution to the wind and went off the deep end in a TV show that seemed to never have a deep end.

The Second Age Middle-earth is sparse on detail. The amount of detail required to build a story may well lead us in a direction none of us have any inclination to follow.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:14 AM   #12
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I'm not a devoted watcher of GOT, but I'm familiar enough with it to have indeed suspected that any Middle-earth based series might follow that template. No doubt it's been a resounding ratings success; why not stick with a winning formula, when they've no one with the Estate to reckon with?
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:38 AM   #13
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I don't know if any of you were watching Game of Thrones, and I won't issue any spoilers, but...episode 5...wow. Ummm...that was...completely unnecessary.

And that should be a cautionary tale for this new Middle-earth monstrosity Amazon is erecting skyward like the tower of Babel. George RR Martin never finished his story, and the GoT franchise writers have seemed to throw caution to the wind and went off the deep end in a TV show that seemed to never have a deep end.

The Second Age Middle-earth is sparse on detail. The amount of detail required to build a story may well lead us in a direction none of us have any inclination to follow.
I would have to disagree: Ep 5 redeemed what till now has been a blah, predictable season. One of the great episodes of the whole series.

However, the GOT style would be COMPLETELY WRONG for Tolkien.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:25 AM   #14
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However, the GOT style would be COMPLETELY WRONG for Tolkien.
Ominously, YouTube channels are now touting the coming series as a possible GOT successor.

Bad enough that in the same video they mention a Stephen King Dark Tower series and one based on H.P. Lovecraft, both of which I enjoy in the written form, but am rather skeptical of other "visions".

Curiously, they also mention a Narnia series. I've never been a fan, so that one doesn't have any impact on me personally.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:40 PM   #15
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The Akallabeth has quite a lot of GOT esque elements if only by implications. However GOT’s style and thematic atmosphere do not fit Tolkien even in that context.

Thing is, Amazon wants to make the next GOT and will seek to emulate whatever elements of GOT real or perceived to have made it successful.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:17 PM   #16
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Thing is, Amazon wants to make the next GOT and will seek to emulate whatever elements of GOT real or perceived to have made it successful.
Is there any hope that since GoT is commonly held to have ended on a sour note, that perhaps that will pour some cold water on Amazon wanting to pursue this enterprise too avidly?

Probably not.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:48 AM   #17
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Tom Shippey on the limitations of the series.

There's a clump of interesting questions and responses at the beginning.

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Originally Posted by How so?
It is difficult because the Second Age kind of “stopped” twice. Once with the Fall of Númenor and then, about 150 years later, with the Last Alliance and the defeat of Sauron. The end of the Second Age on a map looks about the same as the beginning of the Third Age in terms of place names, coastline or border lines. In addition, the difference to the middle of the Second Age is already much greater. Númenor is still listed on the map, the place names are different, we are literally before the transformation of the world by Ilúvatar.

It will be of great importance for the series when exactly the plot takes place, at which point in Middle-earth history something happens. This was one of our difficulties when creating a map for the Second Age, because you have to determine very precisely what date this map should be from. Tolkien wrote some of it down, but as far as the Second Age goes, the information we have is a three-page timeline in the appendices to the Lord of the Rings and the List of Kings of Númenor and a little more material in the Unfinished Tales, but that’s about all.
It sounds like the map is specifically tuned to the date of the series, so the presence of both Lond Daer and Ost-in-Edhil implies they're starting early, perhaps as early as Aldarion himself.

It's also notable that Shippey mentions the Appendices here; more on that in a minute.

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Originally Posted by So does Amazon have a free hand in the interpretation?
Amazon has a relatively free hand when it comes to adding something, since, as I said, very few details are known about this time span. The Tolkien Estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenorean expedition, is returns to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenoreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same. But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions, like: What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions by inventing the answers, since Tolkien did not describe it. But it must not contradict anything which Tolkien did say. That’s what Amazon has to watch out for. It must be canonical, it is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created, it is necessary to remain “tolkienian”.
So Amazon are being told to not change a single word of Tolkien, but to work in the gaps. That's a lot more strict than the movies were, but with a much less explored setting. It may argue against them doing more than touching on Aldarion and Erendis, since they were written out in semi-full, and so would be more difficult to work with.

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Originally Posted by Does the Tokien Estate have a veto on changes?
Yes, the Tolkien Estate keeps a very careful eye on everything and is quite capable of saying no. They retain a veto over everything that concerns Tolkien.
Am I wrong in thinking this is a very heartening statement? 'The Tolkien Estate' in this context probably doesn't include Christopher (resigned as director in 2017, though he is still literary executor), but is still very much in the family. It's always possible Priscilla doesn't care, though.

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Originally Posted by What about the First and Third Ages?
The First and Third Ages are “off-limits”, you can’t have the First Age. Events could be mentioned at the most if they explain the events of the Second Age. But if it is not described or mentioned in the Lord of the Rings or in the appendices, they probably cannot use it. So the question is to what extent they may hint at events that took place, for example, in the First Age, but still continue to affect the Second Age. There are several maps authorized by Tolkien, not just the ones we’re are familiar with, and some of those maps have places on them which are not in the other maps. But if Tolkien authorized them then that’s okay. So it’s it’s a bit of a minefield. You have to tread very carefully but at the same time there is quite a lot of scope for interpretation and free invention.
This is why I highlighted the Appendices earlier: 'the Third Age is off limits' implies Amazon aren't allowed to use anything from the Zaentz rights, but the Appendices are included in that (hence Gandalf's meanderings in The Hobbit XVIII: On A Path In Mirkwood). So either we don't fully understand the rights situation, or some negotiation has been taking place, and will likely continue to do so.

There is a video introducing some of the team behind the show; it doesn't exactly grab my attention, but someone might see something exciting. They show John Howe sketching what could be a shoreline or a rockface, and Kate Hawley (costumes) working on this:



(Heavily skewed and then repaired.)

My guess is that it's probably a sketch of the interviewer. It certainly doesn't seem to hold any details. ^_^

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Old 08-13-2019, 10:50 AM   #18
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If characters are the main avenue open for original development, I have to wonder if they're going to want to impart convictions and motivations that, while recognizable to us today, would be out of phase with Tolkien's established "worldviews" for his creations.
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