Middle Earth will be coming to our screens again, this time through a show on Amazon! The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have been hugely popular works for decades. J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories set in Middle Earth have been a big part of popular culture for a long time. The books themselves have been on most book-lovers’ shelves over the years, and though there have not been too many adaptations, Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings in the early- and mid-2000s brought Tolkien’s world to even those who don’t have the time or desire to read the original works.
The Lord of the Rings films took the world by storm. According to Forbes, the three films made $2.91 billion in ticket sales alone. They were also very well-received by audiences and critics, as I well remember and as can be seen in their scores on Rotten Tomatoes—all three films in the trilogy have a Tomatometer score above 90%.
Since the huge success of these films, there have also been attempts to continue with more adaptations. The Hobbit films took Tolkien’s shorter book and turned it into three films. These films, however, were less warmly received. The second film in the trilogy has a Tomatometer score of 75%, the highest score among the three, while the final film has a score of only 60%. Many fans have criticized the films for being unnecessary, changing the story too much, and trying too hard to replicate the previous trilogy of films.
Perhaps because of the more lackluster response to the Hobbit films, the news of Amazon’s upcoming show has people talking. It’s important to note that over the past decades, Tolkien’s works have often been very difficult to adapt due to Tolkien’s estate. Tolkien’s son, Christopher Tolkien, was one of the directors of the estate for many years and was notably careful with what could be done with his late father’s works. However, in a shocking bit of news, it has now been revealed that Christopher Tolkien exited his role in the estate all the way back at the end of August. Many now question whether this is how Amazon has gained the chance to create its upcoming show.
All the recent news has been confusing and concerning for some fans, while other fans are simply excited. Though it’s too early to guess how Amazon’s show will eventually be received, we do at least know a little bit about what Amazon plans for the series. In Amazon’s recent press release, fans learned a bit more about what to expect. The series is already being called a “multi-season television series,” meaning they certainly don’t plan for the show to be a one-off. And interestingly, it’s noted that the show will be set before the events taking place in The Lord of the Rings. Because of this, fans are left to theorize about what material might be used and what the focus of the show will be.
Again, it’s far too early to really know what to expect. And naturally, though many fans are worried, many others are excitedly anticipating a TV show set in Tolkien’s world. If Amazon can replicate the success of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, fans will certainly be grateful. The whirlwind of news this week has a lot of people talking, but the fact is, it will likely be quite a long while before we know anything more concrete about the upcoming adaptation. I know I’ll be waiting impatiently for more news from Middle Earth!