Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Is Amazon going to adapt the Silmarillion for television?

The City of Gondolin, which is in The Silmarillion. Could we see this in the Amazon series?
When The Hobbit movies started getting made by Peter Jackson, I was initially excited. Looking back on them, they aren't ones that I take the time to rewatch at all, whereas the Lord of the Rings movies are ones I do rewatch whenever I catch them on television (usually TBS). Still, I was disappointed when the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien said they were mad at New Line Cinema for their treatment of The Lord of the Rings films, and that they (let's be honest that we're talking Christopher Tolkien when I say "they") were never going to allow Jackson to get near the Silmarillion, which has a wealth of great stories in it, many of them potentially better than the actual War of the Ring.

And just so you know, I'm not a big Christopher Tolkien fan. He hates all the movies made of his dad's material, and he disowned his own son over the movies, even though they eventually reconciled. It just goes to show you that there's no end to legal red tape and bad feelings, etc. to bring these kinds of stories to a general audience. I truly feel for the great directors like Peter Jackson who deal with insufferable and egotistic people day in and day out in order to honor some work that the world appreciates.

Anyway, I thought the story with Tolkien adaptations was going to end with the release of The Hobbit. However, NPR reported this morning that the Tolkien estate and Trust are now entering a collaboration deal to bring all those Middle-Earth stories from the Silmarillion to television via Amazon subscription service. Okay, I'm in. I just hope they do a good job with it, because the Peter Jackson stuff had really solid production values and the battles looked "epic" with a capital "e." In my opinion, to properly do many Silmarillion stories, you'd need a budget that makes the latest season of Game of Thrones look small. Is Amazon willing to pony up that kind of cash? I hope the stories we get aren't just Xena: Warrior Princess types. This is what I'd call "filler" material that is essentially pointless if you don't have incredible high points in the story to make it all worth while.

So imagine the histories of Gondor, Khazad-Dum, and Rohan being told. Maybe one story could be the forging of the rings of power or perhaps Durin's attempt at taking back Moria. Maybe we'd see the other Istari wizards that went south and disappeared into the world of men. Perhaps we see Ungoliante...that would be very cool.

I gotta be honest though...I kinda wish Netflix had took this on instead of Amazon. Just sayin'....


  1. Yeah, I agree - wish NetFlix was producing it instead. Although could be worse - it could be MTV.

    1. Now that I'm more awake...
      So on top of the millions and millions they are spending on a Lord of the Rings series (which, I don't see the point of other than they just want their own Game of Thrones), they are going to throw more millions to acquire The Silmarillion? That's a gamble.

  2. I think the LOTR movies were the best that you could get in 2000-2002. It's like people who complain about Raimi's Spider-Man movies. I'm not sure how much Amazon spends on Man in the High Castle or The Tick but I don't think it's exactly a cinematic budget.

  3. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. Could happen.

  4. I've read all of Tolkien's work, except the Silmarillion.

  5. Considering Amazon spent $250 million on the rights, I have to imagine they are going to spend at least that on the production over a couple of seasons. It's hard to believe they spent that much without going for something special as I doubt anyone else would have bid near that much. The reports I read were that Jeff Bezos loves Tolkien and wants Amazon's streaming service to have its own Game of Thrones after they got shut out at the Emmys this year. That's good news if it's true.

    BTW, Amazon has some really good series even if nobody knows about them. I love Man in the High Castle and Mozart in the Jungle is one of the smartest comedies on TV. Red Oaks, Bosch, and Sneaky Pete are all good in their own genres. The show I'm looking forward to most on TV this fall is 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'. It's a story about a woman trying to become a stand-up comedian in late 1950s New York. It's written/produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino who also made Gilmore Girls and the all too short-lived Bunheads. The pilot episode is free to watch on Amazon right now and it's a blast. The entire 1st season drops on Nov. 29th.