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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
Still not sure how I feel about this


Nov 21 2017, 10:14pm

Post #1 of 22 (1990 views)
Still not sure how I feel about this Can't Post

Truth is, Peter Jackson's FoTR is what brought me to Middle-earth. I wasn't quite the M-e book fan that so many on this site were; I'm (pretty) sure I read them in 7th grade or something like that, but I really couldn't remember much of the story. So for me it really was PJ's movies. As for Amazon, even though it's Tolkien, it won't be PJ's Tolkien. On the one hand, that could potentially be a good thing if they go with pre-Hobbit tales, based on characters not featured in PJ's movies, then I could compartmentalize and just appreciate the series for what it is. But if there's any overlap of either characters or stories, I might find myself comparing said character/story to PJ's version, in which case the new version would likely come up short. IMO, Ian McKellan IS Gandalf, and since he was reluctant to sign on for (at the time) a two-movie Hobbit, I don't think he'd be willing to do a series. There's just NO WAY Gandalf can be recast, so the Amazon series would IMO be better off not even writing about him. Anyone else feel that way?

Check out my new book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521753377

(This post was edited by Kilidoescartwheels on Nov 21 2017, 10:15pm)

Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea

Nov 21 2017, 11:19pm

Post #2 of 22 (1911 views)
I suspect there's a generational divide of sorts... [In reply to] Can't Post

...though I'm hesitant to generalize (people are unique, of course). But I imagine there's a great many of us who came to Tolkien, more or less, through PJ. Even though I read the books first, it was only about a year before FotR's release, and so I knew what all the actors would look like in their roles, what Middle-earth looked like as set in New Zealand, etc.

For a lot of those readers/viewers (myself included), a Middle-earth not seen through the prism of PJ's adaptation is next to impossible to comprehend.

Then there are fans who came to Tolkien long before, imagined Middle-earth wholly in their own minds, went through various previous adaptations (Rankin/Bass, Bakshi, the various Radio Dramas, etc.). It may be that some of them look at us and scoff, incredulous that we put so much stock Tolkien through Jackson.

I maintain that I feel it's too soon for another take on Tolkien in film (or television, as the case may be), but how could I feel otherwise? Book Aragorn or Film Aragorn, I still picture Viggo Mortensen. Frodo, Elijah Wood. Gandalf, Ian McKellen. Sam, Sean Astin. So forth and so on.

Will I embrace this series if it discards PJ's version of Middle-earth completely? I honestly don't know. I hope that doesn't make me less of a Tolkien fan in our TORNsibs' eyes.

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that."
- Viggo Mortensen

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Nov 21 2017, 11:21pm)

balbo biggins

Nov 22 2017, 3:03am

Post #3 of 22 (1874 views)
Ha [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok imagine they say that Zack efron is going to play a young strider,. A horrible thought right? That's how most people felt when they said that annoying American kid from the flipper movie was going to play frodo baggins, to me it was dumbest worst idea ever. Ok instill feel a bit like that but it didn't turn out too bad.

I don't think casting will be the big worry, it will be what the hell the are casting for !


Nov 22 2017, 9:11am

Post #4 of 22 (1824 views)
I think most people understand were youa re coming from. [In reply to] Can't Post

I would probably be in "your camp" had I not read the books 1-2 years before the first movie came out.

It is only natural that your first impressions ticks with you the most. For example, while some characters have blended for me with the movie versions (Gollum, for example), I can never picture Wood as Frodo when I read the books. There is a huge difference for me. Not one that I dislike but a difference that is strong enough to keep the two versions apart.

Same goes for many locations (big exception is Hobbiton), though.

So I have no trouble at all picturing a new visualization of this world. I am very cautious not to get too excited - this could easily turn out very bad.

But I think as long as they find good actors who are capable of breathing life into these characters, and nice locations that fit the world, the missing continuity with PJ's world will be the least of my problems.

"I am afraid it is only too likely to be true what you say about the critics and the public. I am dreading the publication for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at." J.R.R. Tolkien

We all have our hearts and minds one way or another invested in these books and movies. So we all mind and should show the necessary respect.


Nov 22 2017, 4:11pm

Post #5 of 22 (1781 views)
A good actor can fulfill a role played by someone else given the [In reply to] Can't Post

example of Michael Gambon taking over for Richard Harris. Different but I found both perfectly fine.


Nov 22 2017, 7:13pm

Post #6 of 22 (1728 views)
It might win you over [In reply to] Can't Post

It is likely that the new series will take its geist by Peter Jacksons movies rather than by the books. Even so it will probably not be quite as action oriented as the movies were.

Gandalf will be recast. I don't see that they have a choice.

The Shire

Nov 22 2017, 9:49pm

Post #7 of 22 (1698 views)
Michael Gambon and Richard Harris [In reply to] Can't Post

Precisely the example I had in mind! Another would be Henry Cavill playing the iconic Superman when most still loved Christopher Reeve's version, but I think reception of Cavill's performance has generally been positive. Of course that is movies, but I imagine Superman fans had the same hesitations when told the Smallville series was coming and had Tom Welling in the role. In the end it's just a different take on a popular character, and as long as the actor is good the audience will generally approve.

(This post was edited by Wilros on Nov 22 2017, 9:53pm)


Nov 23 2017, 12:55am

Post #8 of 22 (1658 views)
Think of all of the Spiderman and Batman actors that have stepped into the role [In reply to] Can't Post

or Dr. Who.....Sherlock Holmes.....Scrooge.....etc. Yes, we have our favorites, but many bring very good performances and add their own twists to the character.


Nov 23 2017, 9:33am

Post #9 of 22 (1620 views)
Look at Churchill [In reply to] Can't Post

Gambon, Oldman and Lithgow managed to create three acclaimed portrayals of Winston Churchill in a little over a year.

Lithgow even won an Emmy and Oldman is frontrunner for the Oscar.

McKellen's Gandalf was special. But there is plenty of room for another interpretation of the character.

"I am afraid it is only too likely to be true what you say about the critics and the public. I am dreading the publication for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at." J.R.R. Tolkien

We all have our hearts and minds one way or another invested in these books and movies. So we all mind and should show the necessary respect.

(This post was edited by Arannir on Nov 23 2017, 9:36am)


Nov 23 2017, 12:01pm

Post #10 of 22 (1604 views)
I don't think any of us really knows how we feel about it.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...because we don't know enough about it yet to feel anything very settled.

I come at this from a completely different angle. I loved the books and had my own very clear ideas about them long before Peter Jackson's films - and I'd seen other film versions and been monumentally disappointed, so the omens weren't good. I went in to see 'Fellowship' expecting to be unimpressed and loved it - and the rest. So my feelings towards whatever Amazon is planning start with fair helping of 'Hmmm - bit soon, isn't it?' as Aragorn the Elfstone says.

To work for me, this new - whatever it is - has to please either the booklover or the filmlover in me. I struggle with the idea of them picking up Tolkien's outlines of the time before Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit because it seems to me that that is far more difficult to do well than simply re-adapting the fully-written stories. They're venturing into an area with more pitfalls than solid ground to stand on. Will they be sensitive enough to the mood and feeling of the original to spin new dialogue where there is no dialogue - to resist the temptation to add characters and storylines to suit Hollywood rather than Tolkien - to name any new characters as Tolkien might have named them....

As for Gandalf, Ian McKellen is Gandalf pretty much as I'd always imagined him. I don't feel a need to see anyone else play the part and if there is an overlap with him or any other character, comparisons will be inevitable. (They are anyway, I think. Simply by using the 'Lord of the Rings' title so much when it seems that whatever they're making won't be Lord of the Rings, amazon is inviting those comparisons.) I take the point others have made that someone else can step into an established role and make it work even when you feel sure they can't. I went through a similar thing with Poldark - I was sure no one else could be Ross Poldark; in fact, Aidan Turner is fine - I can watch both series very happily. They can recast Gandalf if he's in whatever it is they're doing, and whether he's believable will depend for me on the whole context. If they get the writing and all the design and the rest of the cast and the music right, then maybe....

But Ian McKellen will always be Gandalf!

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .

Tol Eressea

Nov 23 2017, 11:01pm

Post #11 of 22 (1529 views)
everybody feels that way [In reply to] Can't Post

about the latest reboot of their favorite tales...

whether it's Marvel Comics or Star Trek or what shape the Doctor in the tardis takes...

"OMG my first one is the only one!!!!"



Stories take on their own lives when they go out into the world, and people will continue to interpret them in various ways... and some will be better than others.

And yeah, I see PJ's Middle Earth even though I read the books when Orlando Bloom was in diapers...

bigger on the inside...

Na 'Aear, na 'Aear! Ml 'lain nallol, I sl ribiel a i falf 'loss reviol...
To the sea, to the sea, the white gulls are crying, the wind is blowing and the white foam is flying... (JRR Tolkien, Legolas Song of the Sea)

Aue, aue,
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way
(Te Vaka, Moana soundtrack)

Member of Horse Manure Movers Local 101, Raptor Wranglers & Rehab, and Night Fury Trainers Assoc. Owned by several cats and a very small team of maniacal sled dogs... sorry Radagast, those rabbits were delicious...

Tol Eressea

Nov 23 2017, 11:02pm

Post #12 of 22 (1527 views)
indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

...and I have liked any number of portrayals of Spidey, Bats and Dr Who... I may have favorites, but that does not make the others less fabulous.

bigger on the inside...

Na 'Aear, na 'Aear! Ml 'lain nallol, I sl ribiel a i falf 'loss reviol...
To the sea, to the sea, the white gulls are crying, the wind is blowing and the white foam is flying... (JRR Tolkien, Legolas Song of the Sea)

Aue, aue,
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way
(Te Vaka, Moana soundtrack)

Member of Horse Manure Movers Local 101, Raptor Wranglers & Rehab, and Night Fury Trainers Assoc. Owned by several cats and a very small team of maniacal sled dogs... sorry Radagast, those rabbits were delicious...


Nov 24 2017, 10:47pm

Post #13 of 22 (1452 views)
I'm worried about it not being Tolkien's Tolkien. [In reply to] Can't Post

But I am equally ambivalent about it.

"Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it."
--Joyce Meyer

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
--Leonard Nimoy

No One in Particular

Nov 25 2017, 12:44am

Post #14 of 22 (1436 views)
Tolkien's Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

Whatever it is, it won't be that. It may be good, bad, or indifferent, but it will not be what Tolkien intended.

I have hope. I am perfectly aware that this hope may be dashed, but I still have it. But as other, wiser folks have already said, it's too soon to tell; we simply don't know enough yet.

That said, there will be people who loathe this simply because it's different from what came before, and others who love it for exactly the same reasons. You can't please everybody, period, because no two people are looking for the same thing in an interpretation.

At the end of the day, we still have the books we love. (Or the films, if you prefer them!) If the new thing is bad, or simply not to our liking, we can just ignore it.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph

Registered User

Nov 25 2017, 9:04am

Post #15 of 22 (1417 views)
Very conflicted, indeed. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm quite conflicted on the announcement of this show, and it's definitely not what Tolkien would have wanted. However, it seems inevitable at this point. They should take this opportunity to explore different areas of Middle-earth lore and aspects the films omitted, as well as finding talented writers and actors to faithfully portray Tolkien's creations.

(BTW, I'm new here, so sorry if I messed this post up lol)

Forum Admin

Nov 25 2017, 3:20pm

Post #16 of 22 (1377 views)
Welcome, Argonnath! [In reply to] Can't Post

We're glad you decided to join us here.


Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.


Nov 25 2017, 3:21pm

Post #17 of 22 (1378 views)
Welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a fun place to hang out - plus obviously we have something new to talk aboutCool

Check out my new book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521753377


Nov 25 2017, 3:44pm

Post #18 of 22 (1372 views)
Tbh, [In reply to] Can't Post

Watching the two exquisite trilogies by Peter Jackson,for a hundredth time,( i have really lost count) have whetted my appetite for a new series concerning Middle Earth! Bring it on already!Cool

"You cannot find peace by avoiding life"


Nov 25 2017, 11:34pm

Post #19 of 22 (1326 views)
ready or not, here it comes [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd like to see a whole new set of adaptations, say every 20 years or so; each generation playing with it. I'd like to see Middle-earth become like the Arthurian lengendarium--public property, a living mythology, ever-retold...



Nov 27 2017, 5:04am

Post #20 of 22 (1268 views)
Where I feel this is heading [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh wow oh wow oh wow....*grips head in hands*

How do I feel about this? How do I feel?!?! Enough to come back and post after years off here....great to see you, Dormouse and so many other familar names still here...'elen silva lumenn 'olmentielvo" (did I get that right? My Sindarin is rusty these days:) )

People talking about Game of Thrones in other threads...ha...I started reading George RR Martin's "A Song Of Ice And Fire" series because of a small but extremely devoted bunch of Martin fans on this very site pre-2010, Yes, I started reading Martin and watching Game of Thrones b/c of Tolkien fans! And I discovered all this epic recent news tonight while watching a YouTube video about Season 8 GOT production! Full circle, lol.My head is doing a 360-degree Linda Blair spin!

First, I am saddened that the new TV series is being handled by the lowest end of the TV totem pole..why couldn't it be Showtime or even Star, who is dong such a good job with Outlander. Though to be fair, that's b/c Diana Gabaldon herself is involved and given a lot of leeway in their interpretation of her series. Amazon? Really? I have a feeling that Bezos has no bloody idea of the minefiled he has stepped in. HBO were to a certain extent used to handling epic strories and properties, so it was just a mater of scale for them, in ratcheting up the scale and budget for each season of Game of Thrones. Amazon though? As the Guardian article or somesuch said, do they have any idea what they're getting into? Re-interpreting Tolkien for any screen, big or small, is not like doing a new SW film for Disney. Each artistic decision is going to be like stepping into a minefield. And in a way, the stakes for them are as real as thy were for PJ and LOTR in 2001. A lot is riding on this for them. If it should fail...and what are their yardsticks for success? And budget is not everything. Critical acclaim is all. I realize that many in a Rotten tomato-meter mindset wat somethig to succeed and will jump on a a bandwagon to praise utter trash if tit;s the right corpration making it (read: Disney/Marve/Thor l good, Non-Disney Justice League bad.)

I've always bee what I call normally an open-mined book reader. I thank Eru always that I read Tolkien in the mid-90's long before the films came out, and loved the LOTR films. I have always bee willing to overlook some plot changes and other tweaks in adaptations, as long as they are true to the SPIRIT of the origional work...and the LOTR films were true to Tolkien;s spirit. They had and will always have a deep and abiding beauty and a spiritual element to them that most Hollywood works will never have. And I understand that PJ had the right origional instincts with TH but Warner Bothers used the NZ labor dispute and other things to get their grubby paws over creative control of TH, thus what befell those films wasn't his fault. He had the right instncts but was not abe to realize his vision.

In contrast, the producers of GOT have strayed away from Martin;s vision of ASOIAF being an ANTI-WAR story where the characters ultimately grow heartsick and weary of taking revenge. Instead it had devolved into a story of Hollywood tropes of heroes and charactrers as badasses glorying in senseless violence...but back on topic.

I am not worried about sub-par versions of Tolkien if they do appear, b/c they will be forgotten. We know PJ's works will stand the test of time. In the same way no one has bee able to remake The Wizard of Oz or the new remake of BEn-Hur flopping, a sub-par version will not replace a masterwork. Greatness willlast forever.

the ONE thing I am worried about though is the logical endgame of all this corporate frenzy: A LOTR THEME PARK. It would be the ONE thing, the ONLy thing that would truly destroy Tolkien's legacy by achieving the very thing he sought his whole life to destroy: a historic re-infantilization of fantasy.

From his essay "Beowulf: The Monsters And The Critics" onwards, Tolkien sought and successfully achieved, the bringing of fantasy into the adult genre and as such making a serious and respectful genre worthy of study and epic interpretation on a grand scale. And IMO all treatments of his owrk, even the Hobbit TV series, have in respected that. And Tv/movie/even videogame to an extant, keep it "adult."

You wonder what is going though WB execs eyes now? "Now we're rid of that pesky Chris Tolkien, who was keeping us from building our Hobbit Theme park." Or something like that. You know a Tolkien theme park was in the works until the Estate killed it.

What's wrong with a theme park? Well, imagine the Hobbits, Gimli the Dwarf (or thorin or Kili for that matter) Queen GaladrelGandalf the Wizard, among others, sitting on a parade float, blowing kisses and waving, or every morning a Disney parade of Tolkien characters walking down Main Street in the daily candy-dispensing parade. The Ring and all it implies probablynowhere to be seen, and anyway how do you interpret that when there's pints of "ale" (ahem, butterbeer?) for the kiddies to drink.

Nothing evil about that except that the one fantasy that existed for the purposes of NOT being treated this way is, and after a few generations, the name of JRR Tolkien might cease to exist first and foremost as the creators of these characters. Heck, I predict after a few generations, Goerge Lucas's name will slwoly be dorgotten, just as Collodi is forgotten by the general public Pinocchio) or Lews Carroll ALice in Wonderland/Looking Glass.)

A theme park has a way of rendering the wild depressingly tame and familiar; the spiritual, moot; the fantastic, utterly mundane,, Other franchises like marvel were tailor-made for it. Tolkien, not.

Big deal, you say. It'll never happen Well, why is WB pleased as punch that they're not doing the TV series? B//c they've got another property to compete agaisnt Disney with in the theme park stakes And if Beren and Luthien and the Sil or ANY Tolkien story makes it to the screen big or small, any character can now be legally included in a theme park too....just something to think about.

While Tolkien was more open-minded than many fans appear to be about "other hands" taking up his work in the many different ways he describes, I think he would have put a big fat asterisk on that famous paragraph had he lived long enough to witness the perverse effect that Disneyworld and Disneyland had on popular culture after a few generations. No big deal if you're dealing with characters from children;s storybooks--or modern creations that are kiddie in nature (Star Wars characters? How to represent The Force in a theme park, without which the Franchise is nothing, hm?) It's all well and good for happy familes. But they go home and it's all different....

So what if there's a Tolkien (excuse me: MIddle-earth) theme park you ask? How the heck are we supposed to remember Tolkien without it? So what if the 2 visions exist side by side? I don;t know.that's up for debate. But you know that Queen Galadriel passing out candy to the kiddies is where this is heading. Royalties from toys and screen right and Blu-Rays ad streaming and games are peanuts next to Theme park revenues. it shouldn't meas anything at all, unless you care about an entty out there that infantilies Tolkien in any way shape or form. the ONE fantasy franchise that does NOt deserve that insult.

(This post was edited by Sunflower on Nov 27 2017, 5:17am)


Nov 27 2017, 2:05pm

Post #21 of 22 (1225 views)
Hi Sunflower! [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome back - you responded to every thread in this new cluster in one shot. Well done.



Nov 27 2017, 4:32pm

Post #22 of 22 (1214 views)
itll be great [In reply to] Can't Post

they'll recast Gandalf and it will be fine. I imagine they'll have to recast saruman as well.

the question is-who will be the main Baddy? sauron of course but how will they work him in? will they show him? where will the base be? Mordor or dol guldor? the destruction of it throws a monkey wrench in. I assume Morder.

it might be a good idea to create a new orc Leader to be the "face" of the enemy.

- "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

My Book---> www.amazon.com/Popcornmaker


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