Lettuce talk about the Upcoming Amazon LOTR TV series

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New Soul
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Is it going to be a cartoon? I think it should be a cartoon.

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Well, there have been great animated additions to Middle Earth before, namely the Rankin/Bass Hobbit. A cartoon could be quite entertaining, and perhaps even more accurate.
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I'd imagine a Lord of the Rings animated series would ultimately be cheaper to produce, too. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an exception because it's pretty expensive, but otherwise animated shows are much, much cheaper. I'd certainly watch an animated LotR!
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@Reikon Suchi-ru Animated LotR already exists. There’re a Ralph Bashki Film that goes through FotR and part of TTT and a Rankin/Bass RotK. Altogether, they’re pretty decent and there’s some great (albeit slightly cringey) musical numbers in the RotK film.
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@Dimcairien Luiniel Yep! I'm familiar with the Bakshi and Rankin/Bass films. I was speaking more of a modern Middle-earth related series. I should get around to finally watching those movies though! :smiley9:
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@Dimcairien Luiniel those movies had me dying when I was a kid. The animation is unique and the songs are pretty good. I loved the Hobbit alot.

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Great, so the obvious conclusion here is that cartoon is the superior medium and we should petition Amazon to throw their plans out the window and create a cartoon series.

Problem and all concerns, solved.
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Animation. Though can be time consuming. But with today's technology, it's made easier with digital media, but I don't know that animation would be that much cheaper then live acting. One would have to employ a team of animators.

It has been so long that I have seen the Rankin/Bass cartoon that I don't remember a lot about it.

I do have the Bakshi cartoon in my library.
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Audiences watching Amazon's animated LOTR prequel series (2022, colorized).

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@Reikon Suchi-ru you do need to watch them as you’re in for a treat. I should try and re-watch them at some point in the near future.

As for animation, yes it can indeed be very pricey and time consuming. I have enough friends working in that field to hear bits about it.

It might have been mentioned here or somewhere else, but I think the CGI orcs in Hobbit cost more than hiring a bunch of extras for a few days would have.

All that being said, while animated could be quite fun, I think I’d prefer live action. Or, to use a phrase my younger brother made up “the humanated version”
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Or, just have them all speak gibberish/olde english (Numenorean) and focus more on facial expressions and actions while having it all subtitled :D

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Or just have them all speaking Numenorean with NO subtitles. At least that'll be quite immersive and us Tolkien fans will at least be able to pick up on the occasional phrase. :smiley9:
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For all those who have expressed concern over the story arc(s) and general presentation:

The Tolkien Family and the Estate have final say on the release of *any* adaptation per Contract or risk a Breach judgement and total shut-down. Yes, that has been verified.
Meanwhile, considering the 'up front' costs were almost $1,000,000,000 (no, that isn't a typo), I seriously doubt Amazon will risk the loss of the contract which is originally a 5-season deal and could be extended.
As for Prof Shippey's release: You would need to ask him directly, but he voided his NDA by interviewing with a public group. It was unintentional, but it did happen, and it is probably fair to assume he left the project for that - and potentially other - reasons.

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@Tangua Fairborne

I appreciate your attempt to allay certain ears lots of us have about this project. I myself have other fears. Mostly to do with the fact they seem to be struggling to get stories etc firmly nailed down. The trouble with projects like this with a vast creative team is it usually ends up being design and writing by committee. This seldom ends up in a satisfactory end product.

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@Tangua Fairborne You've made some really great points. I had no idea the initial investment in the TV show was that significant. It would make sense Amazon would be super careful to make sure the show goes according to plan or face the prospect of losing lots of money.
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I am excited and going to give it a chance during the first season. I'll honestly give it some leeway. Projects like this without the original author, or prequels that could possibly muddy things will always be controversial, but LOTR is a brand that should be put out into the world in different mediums so why not try.

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Amazon’s Lord of the Rings adds more actors and more roles revealed - Redanian Intelligence

New report from one of the more reliable sources for Amazon LOTR news thus far. Evidently one of the main characters of the series is (possibly) named May, and a supporting character is Trevyn. However, this comes with the major disclaimer that these could be placeholder names, similar to how Tauriel from the Hobbit movies was publicly referred to as Itaril early in production.
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And here I was expecting April and Devin.

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Rivvy Elf wrote: Fri May 22, 2020 7:40 pmAnd here I was expecting April and Devin.
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I haven't quite caught up to date on the latest news regarding this series. I've heard Amazon's trickled out some teaser maps, but I haven't looked at them yet. And this article is now nearly 2 years old:

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/lor ... 15160.html

One of the quotes in it that stood out...

The studio head said the only thing she knows for sure is the show will land somewhere between being completely original and being a faithful adaptation.

The balance will be interesting. I agree with others who say I think the "completely original" side will have to be creating a lot of characters. I've never really been drawn into the RPing here, but I've always appreciated a certain orderliness to it and the "faithful fan-fiction" feel. The "faithful adaptation" side is probably in the location/settings and theme (hopefully). Lord of the Rings often gets simplified into just a battle of good vs. evil, but my reading on a central theme is hope vs. despair. And, well, a hope vs. despair theme would definitely be possible (and preferable) in this Amazon series.

As an aside, I see where people are coming from with the Senate politics from The Phantom Menace. One of my favorite parts in Rogue One was actually the rebel leaders counsel. A glimpse of the early formation of the Rebellion's leadership and a display of their clear differences (despite loosely forming together to try to resist the Emperor). Mon Mothma's statement in particular that without the unanimous approval of the counsel, they can't authorize a mission to Scarif. Apologies for the side-track, but they do happen to be my favorite parts. :smiley8:
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Some more news about the Amazon series. It is to be expected. I believe it was Elijah Wood who mentioned it probably shouldn't be called "Lord of the Rings" since it's dealing with a different Middle-earth story.

https://www.ign.com/articles/lord-of-th ... iel-elrond

Although this does bring into question which part of the Second Age do they focus on? Is it going to be the Downfall of Numenor or Sauron's wars in Eregion? Huh...or just an entire 'telling' of the Second Age?
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Impossible to say for sure given Amazon's absurd level of secrecy, but I think the most likely scenario, based on everything we've heard so far, is that the show will start with the forging of the Rings and the War of the Elves and Sauron. I won't even try to speculate how many seasons that will last. Depends on how much detail they want to go into and how much time they spend exploring contemporaneous side plots (eg, events in Númenor leading up to their intervention in the war).
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Every single bit of information that comes out about this series lowers my expectations and makes me want to watch it less, and I started way down here anyway *points at his ankles*

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Huh, this is making me more and more interested in the show, though I still am very apprehensive about it. I really hope they do a good job, and I would think that after the disaster of the Hobbit movies, the Tolkien estate will be keeping a very tight reign on any filmed versions of the books.

There is so much great stuff in the Second Age and I would love to see a well-done and well-thought out visual portrayal of it. But I guess it's a "wait and see" game. I'm sure we'll all have some very interesting discussions as things progress.
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Hopefully they just want tall people to be proper Ents and Entwives. The little actors to be plants, and little Entings and ent-maidens, so that the second age is all about the sundering of the Ents and the Ent-wives.

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Some stories with more news about the series:

https://www.cbr.com/amazon-lord-of-the-rings-need-know/

Also Vice.com...I did not know the Tolkien Estate had that much tight control on the rights to the material the Amazon series will be using. And Tom Shippey's involvement is rather encouraging:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pa7y ... ngs-series
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Shippey is reportedly no longer involved in the project. While TORn is not the reliable source of information it once was (they appear not to have inside connections with the Amazon production like they did with PJ's), Corey Olsen is in a more likely position to know. That said, I think the hand-wringing over Shippey's departure from some corners (eg, TORn's subheading writers) is overblown. The Estate can undoubtedly hire people who are less overqualified to pore over proposed changes from the Amazon writers' room.

Since the Vice article links to the interview between Shippey and that German fansite, I will reiterate my skepticism that the first season of the show will be 20 episodes long. That's just not done for premium "cable" dramas, including Amazon's previous forays into this format, unless it's a season released in two distinct chunks (at which point it's basically two seasons). Also, the fansite's editorial comment that Amazon has to negotiate with Middle-earth Enterprises for the rights to Third Age material is inconsistent with reporting from reputable trade publications. While M-e E owns the film and video game rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the TV adaptation rights are a separate thing that are owned by the Estate*, which is how they were able to license those rights to Amazon in 2017. Amazon themselves do not own any of the rights.

On that note: as per Variety, the initial deal did not include The Silmarillion. There was almost certainly a second deal signed to give Amazon access to Second Age material in TS, UT, and possibly HoMe. This would explain Shippey's statement that the Third Age is "off-limits" unless something was mentioned in LOTR or the Appendices. That is to say, Amazon (probably) has full access to LOTR under the terms of their first agreement, but when it comes to posthumously published material, they only get the Second Age.



*According to Doug Kane, who has access to the original contracts from 1969, the sale of film rights to LOTR did not cover TV series, but they included an option for the licensee to purchase those rights for a pittance in the future. However, at some point the full rights appear to have reverted to the Estate. The most convincing hypothesis is that this was part of the settlement of their digital exploitation lawsuit (against several defendants, including the Saul Zaentz Company, of which Middle-earth Enterprises is a d/b/a). This was resolved in mid-2017, just before the Estate began "shopping around" the TV rights, which ultimately led to the Amazon deal.
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Thank you for the additional information @Eldy Dunami. :thumbs:

With the news of how strict the copyright is, even if Tom Shippey is no longer involved in the project, I am a little more hopeful. It makes me think that we'll be closer to a Lord of the Rings adaptation than The Hobbit. I mean I'm still noticing quite a lot of differences in the LOTR movies that I forgot about in the current read-a-long. I think @Mojo made a good point that on the surface, the movies appear to be good adaptations. But there is almost no depth and when you scratch the surface, it's less Lord of the Rings and more PJ's "interpretation." However, I still feel like it's a world that can relate and feel like it fits in Middle-earth. The Hobbit films are a fanfic nightmare and none of them felt like Middle-earth, to me.

I'm guessing now we'll get the forging of the Rings of Power, the wars and destruction of Eregion, the downfall of Numenor. I think it's set and approved for 2 seasons. So, if it does well and there are enough seasons, the final season I'm guessing will be the Last Alliance.
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Agreed, @Boromir88. I imagine Amazon would like to do the complete arc of the Second Age if the show becomes the hit they're hoping for. The conclusion of the War of the Elves and Sauron puts the pieces in place for the Downfall of Númenor and the War of the Last Alliance, with Sauron out for revenge against Númenor—albeit after a very long period of rebuilding his strength. The prologue to PJ's Fellowship of the Ring, which is the main source of information on the Second Age for most potential viewers, didn't even bother mentioning the amount of time that passed between the two wars,* so I imagine casual audiences would find it strange if the show stopped halfway through the Second Age.

*One could argue that the prologue indicates there simply wasn't a 1500 year gap in the movie-verse timeline. Even if that was PJ et al's intention, I would be very surprised if Amazon went that route, but the prologue was so condensed that I wouldn't call it a retcon either way.

---

(Fake edit: so ... I had more residual Opinions about purism than I realized. Sorry for this being so long. :googly:)

One of PJ's best decisions with The Lord of the Rings was to model the look of the movies after the work of prominent Tolkien illustrators. He did so very early on, but it became even better once he convinced John Howe and Alan Lee to move to New Zealand and create a ton of new art for the films. This is largely why so many people describe the films as looking like they imagined Middle-eart: because they are visually of a piece with the book covers and illustrations that already influenced people's imaginations. I think this is part of the reason so many book readers were willing to overlook PJ's numerous changes to plot and character. Which isn't to say anyone is wrong to like the films despite the changes, but I used to get weirded out having online discussions with people who didn't acknowledged that there were substantive changes.

Looking back, it's kinda strange how the main dividing line in the purist debate was not whether Tolkien adaptations should be faithful to the book, but whether PJ's adaptations actually were. Self-identified purists and passionate defenders of the films both tended to talk about the ideal of faithfulness in similar language. Bluntly, I think this had a detrimental effect on people's ability to understand the films. When admitting you like an "unfaithful" adaptation is treated as dirty and shameful, people implicitly assume that films they enjoy must ipso facto be faithful adaptations. Not everyone bought into this—I enjoyed LOTR as entertainment despite my criticisms with the changes, and I wasn't alone in this—but it led to some frankly surreal conversations at times. Someone on another forum once tried to convince me that film!Aragorn was never reluctant about becoming king, despite that being his entire character arc.

The Aragorn thing kind of sums it up in my opinion. Making him the primary point of view character in TTT and ROTK was itself a major departure from the book, but more importantly, his motivation throughout the trilogy was entirely different. Film!Aragorn's story is that of a man learning to accept his identity, let go of his fear of responsibility (specifically, failing in the same way as Isildur), and stop running from his fate. Book!Aragorn does not deal with any of that during the course of LOTR. But the thing is, film!Aragorn works. He's a great character! Much of that is due to Viggo Mortensen's charisma, but he's also well-written. He's likable and relatable, and his enduring popularity speaks to his effectiveness as a protagonist the audience can identify with. We want to see him succeed and embrace being king, so it feels good when he finally does. None of this is in any way lessened by his differences from book!Aragorn.

Lest this post come across solely as trying to score points in a long-dead debate, I must acknowledge the equally bizarre episodes of selective blindness which afflicted the purist faction. Consider Arwen replacing Glorfindel, for example. A lot of people got really mad that film!Arwen took Frodo to the Ford of Bruinen, since Glorfindel did so in the book. But here's the kicker: it wasn't Glorfindel in the book! Frodo rode Asfaloth to the Ford of Bruinen alone; he defied the Lord of the Nazgûl on his own. That film!Frodo was a drooling sack of potatoes throughout this sequence was a far more consequential change than which Elf carried him. If Glorfindel had faced down the Nazgûl in the films, it would have been just as disruptive to Frodo's character arc as Arwen doing so. Obviously, misogyny was a not-insignificant factor in Arwen Discourse in general (which is not to say that everyone who criticized the changes to her role was a misogynist), but it's illustrative of a broader trend.

As for The Hobbit, I don't really like the fanfiction criticism. I've read plenty of Tolkien fanfic, and PJ's Hobbit does not feel like it. Rather, it feels like an inferior copy of his LOTR trilogy, because that's what it is. Many of the aspects of PJ's filmmaking that people criticized in TH were identified and dissected by purists as early as The Two Towers. I won't dispute that TH is both less entertaining and less faithful than LOTR, but in the latter case it's primarily a difference of degree, not kind. I think the main reason—besides PJ becoming more self-indulgent with each new film—is that the broad strokes of LOTR are an effective basis for the kind of conventional, battle-heavy fantasy epic he wanted to make, whereas the broad strokes of TH, even with the addition of the White Council, are not. The cardinal sin of TH is not that it tried to be something different than the book, but that it didn't succeed on its own terms. If it had, most people wouldn't care about the differences.

For my part, I made my peace with PJ's changes a long time ago. I also won't try to argue, as I did in my teens, that adaptations have some sort of moral obligation to stick to their source material. I would be fine with the Amazon series being both good television and different from Tolkien. Since they have so little source material to work with, it could potentially be an interesting chance to see a more out-there version of MIddle-earth, like Guillermo del Toro's Hobbit would have been (not in specifics, just that he brought his own strong creative vision). This probably won't be the case, but I'm fine with that too. I just hope it's fun to watch, since I'll spend my time on it one way or another. Also, I might die of irony poisoning if we see a repeat of the Hobbit years, where people who previously denigrated others for criticizing PJ's LOTR act like the series is a personal insult to them.

Alternatively, I could just avoid having stupid online arguments about the series, but "could" and "will" are two very different things. :tongue:
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No worries @Eldy Dunami your posts are always illuminating. Ah, the Purist debates on the Old Plaza. Fun times. :lol:

I don't want to get too off track by making this about Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I do want to clarify one of my comments about calling The Hobbit more of a fanfic. I agree, I've read great Tolkien fanfic, I've also read bad fanfic. I should have made more clear that PJ's The Hobbit was bad and not imply that all Tolkien fanfic was bad. I loved the Extended Editions and the appendices PJ did for the LOTR movies, because it explained his thoughts and process. Whether I agreed with the decisions he made or not I really didn't care about, it was his explanation for why he made certain decisions that I found interesting. In the LOTR movies, I'd say there's a lot of dialogue that's taken from the books. Sometimes it's given to a different character, sometimes it's in a different spot which is a change to some degree, but it's not that severe. As a quick example, movie!Aragorn tells Frodo "I would have followed you into the very fires of Mordor." Aragorn says this in the book, but it's not to Frodo, it's to Legolas and Gimli. So even though if book!Aragorn never specifically says those words to Frodo, it's reasonable to imply from the book, if he had the chance Aragorn would have said that to Frodo.

I think a lot of the problems with The Hobbit turned out to be Jackson had to invent so much more to stretch it to 3 films. Compare the dialogue in The Hobbit and nothing really seems like it fits, or that he drew inspiration from dialogue in The Hobbit book. Where the Lord of the Rings the process was one of trimming and and cutting.

---

Regarding the Amazon series, I agree I think what interests me the most is just seeing some new blood in the adaptation. As you said, I was rather excited when Del Toro was announced for The Hobbit, so I would get a different interpretation. And hey, don't count on me to stop you from firing up the Purists debates all over again once the Amazon series comes out. I'll hopefully be right here and waiting. :lol:
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@Boromir88, I can definitely agree that the three film split did the Hobbit trilogy no favors. And I take your point regarding good vs bad fanfic. :thumbs:

I too like the repurposed dialogue in LOTR for the most part. In addition to what you mention, a couple particularly effective examples IMO are giving Bombadil's words (to Old Man Willow) to Treebeard instead, and Gandalf's "so do all who live to see such times" speech in Moria. Ian McKellen's delivery of the latter is so great that I think of it even when rereading "The Shadow of the Past". On the other hand, I don't think giving Faramir's dream of Númenor to Éowyn made a ton of sense, nor was Aragorn's dismissal of the significance of dreams very in keeping with Tolkien, but I'll admit that's kinda quibbling.
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I hope it will be something along the lines of this: https://folk.uib.no/hnohf/numenor1.htm

But Orc nerd that I am, I really want to see the War between the Elves and Sauron and the sacking of Eregion. I also hope there will be more in-depth looks into Orc 'culture' and life under the Shadow. After all, the Second Age is when Sauron is at the height of his power as a Dark Lord.

I'm just terrified that they'll make the Orcs ugly in the wrong way <,o.o,>
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https://www.theonering.net/torwp/2020/1 ... w-zealand/

I really hope there's no hobbits, at least in season 1 because it's supposed to be about the Second Age. Hobbits didn't show up until halfway through the Third Age.
I'm very apprehensive about this tv series, but I'll probably watch the first episode anyway just to see what all the fuss is about.

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They should heavily focus much of the series on Numenor, at least until it goes under. In my humble opinion that's where much of the interesting story happens throughout the Second Age, plus lends itself to some incredible visuals.

@Hoglorfen I doubt we will get much orc PoV action; there's even less written about this than anything else they'll be filming, and I don't think that they would think it to be particularly commercially viable.

@Mattie I all also very apprehensive. I'll either watch the whole thing or not a single second, depending on how I feel at the time.

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https://www.theonering.net/torwp/2021/0 ... gs-series/
Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
This news is soooo exciting, but kinda predicted especially by the map.
New characters is a concern. The non-canon characters in PJ's Hobbit trilogy ruined a lot of the 2nd and 3rd films for me. I don't want another Tauriel or Alfrid! Could the previously named Tyra be one of these new characters?
Otherwise this sounds like it's gonna be good.

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@Mattie while I get the fear, I don't think that new characters are too unexpected. Especially since they're going to need to expand the story a little bit -- adding detail, anyway -- I think it's inevitable, adapting the second age.
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Hello, I think it's a toss up, the Tolkien estate has much more control this time around since they put in restrictions and not just sold the rights like LOTR or the Hobbit, it could make the series too restricted.

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