Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to the screen in a big way with his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The first of those beloved films premiered 22 years ago. And now it’s all coming back. On an earnings call on Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced the company would be making new Lord of the Rings movies. Yes, really. Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema brokered a deal with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit‘s’ rights-holders. We first spotted this news at The Hollywood Reporter.
Given some of the recent messiness in Zaslav’s tenure at Warner Bros. Discovery, this deal feels like someone trying to make a splash. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a rich world, full of possibilities. However, we don’t have any details about what the new Lord of the Rings movies will be yet. We hope the movies will focus the story on other parts of Middle-earth. As we’ve seen with Prime Video’s The Rings of Power, many aspects of Middle-earth are well-suited for the screen. Fingers crossed for a Tom Bombadil standalone or something equally unexpected.
In a statement, CEO of Freemode, the division of Embracer Group that made the rights deal, Lee Guinchard said:
Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we’re thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of J.R.R. Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways. We understand how cherished these works are, and working together with our partners at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, we plan to honor the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values.
That quote cites bringing Tolkien to the screen in “new and exciting ways.” It certainly implies they won’t remake Frodo’s story as told in The Lord of the Rings. Comments from Warner Bros Pictures Group Co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Addy also support that. They said in a statement:
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.
In other words, bring on that Tom Bombadil origin story.