One series to ruin it all
In a move that caused ripples throughout the fantasy world, Amazon announced that it will be creating a six-series show based in Middle Earth.
Published in the 1950s, The Lord of the Rings was written by J.R.R Tolkien and went on to be adapted multiple times. Most notably by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh working with New Line Cinema in 2001. Winning 17 out of 30 Academy Awards, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was critically acclaimed, which makes the trepidation felt by many fans of the books and/or films very understandable.
Given the global success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, based on the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin, it seems to be the logical assumption that Amazon will try to replicate the success. A success they sorely need as their streaming service continues to trail behind the likes of Netflix, Disney, and Apple.
The $1 billion deal was announced on the 13th of November, slated to include 6 seasons including the potential for spin-offs. The current vision is to explore stories that precede the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.
The reactions to the news were decidedly mixed.
Some were ecstatic that their favourite franchise would be getting a well funded and high profile series where the world that Tolkien created could be explored far more thoroughly. As more and more books are adapted to the big screen, fans are becoming increasingly jaded. Despite the logical argument that no book can be perfectly translated to a cinema screen, readers are becoming frustrated as writers turn their backs on the story just to make a film.
The Percy Jackson films are an example of this, as they were both poorly received by the fans of the book despite being commercially successful.
However, there are many who fear that they will try to play to the aspects that made Game of Thrones so successful. Many argue that the brutal violence and sexual content that the HBO show is famous for, would be out of place in Middle Earth. Those who grew up watching the films with their families are upset over the idea that they may not be able to do the same with the series. And then there are those who simply believe that the cinematic masterpiece that was the Lord of the Rings Trilogy should be left unviolated. An opinion that seems to be shared by the cast members.
John Rhys-Davies who played Gimli in the films shared his contempt over the new project claiming that “poor Tolkien must be spinning in his grave”. He went on to argue that there was no interest in making the franchise better but rather that they were in it to make money.