Warner Bros. announces new ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies are coming

Warner Bros. announces new ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies are coming

The news comes in the wake of Amazon’s TV adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy saga.

Less than a year after the first season of Amazon’s TV series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power concluded, more content based on J.R.R. Tolkien‘s beloved fantasy universe is coming — from a different studio, in a different medium.

Warner Bros. Pictures announced Thursday that it has signed a multiyear agreement with Swedish media company Embracer Group to produce more films based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

New Line Cinema, which produced Peter Jackson’s acclaimed Lord of the Rings film trilogy in the early 2000s, is also part of the deal as a film label of Warner Bros. Jackson and New Line went on to adapt Tolkien’s The Hobbit into a less-acclaimed film trilogy in the 2010s.

“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,” Warner Bros. Pictures executives Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy said in a statement. “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.”

Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’

Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’

| Credit: Everett Collection

What exactly this means is quite unclear at this time. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have obviously already been adapted into movies. Amazon based The Rings of Power on Tolkien’s appendix to The Return of the King, in which he included notes about the Second Age of Middle-earth. Neither Warner Bros. nor Embracer make any mention of The Silmarillion, the only Tolkien Middle-earth novel that has not yet been adapted for screen (even The Rings of Power only made scattered references to it).

Amazon purchased the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings for $250 million in 2017, which allowed the company to produce The Rings of Power. Embracer purchased Middle-earth Enterprises, the holder of movie rights to The Lord of the Rings, last year.

“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,” Embracer executive Lee Guinchard said in a statement. “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.”

As for Jackson? Thursday’s news left many fans wondering whether WB might be reteaming with its original LOTR director. The studio has yet to announce any potential creative teams, but in a statement to EW, Jackson and his writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens said they’re keen on learning more about WB’s plans.

“Warner Bros. and Embracer have kept us in the loop every step of the way,” Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens said in a joint statement. “We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward.”

In the meantime, Warner Bros. already has at least one Lord of the Rings project in the works: As previously announced, the animated prequel The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is expected to hit theaters in 2024, with a voice cast that includes Brian Cox and original LOTR cast member Miranda Otto.

[[This article has been updated with a statement from Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens.]

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