How Will Lord of the Rings be Different on the Small Screen?
Amazon announced in November 2017 they are picking up a Lord of the Rings TV show. They spent $250 million for the rights in a contract with Tolkien’s estate. In this, they committed to more than one season. What exactly can we expect from this, though?
We don’t know a lot about the show just yet. They have not announced any casting choices or a release date. Even the plot is still up in the air.
Who might we see and what story will they tell?
When it comes to casting, my hope for the show is a more diverse Middle Earth. Ian McKellen has already expressed his willingness to reprise his role as Gandalf, even implying that no one else could play the part. But I would like to see the show separate itself from the Peter Jackson films. For example, I think it would be awesome to see Morgan Freeman in the role of Gandalf. I don’t know whether or not Amazon can afford actors of that caliber, but the point is diversity and representation. A black Gandalf, an Asian Legolas, and so on. If we’re talking dream casts, I’d like to see Lin Manuel-Miranda as Tom Bombadil. Can you imagine? All of Tom Bombadil’s songs, but rap!
Plotwise there is a lot to look at. They are calling it a Lord of the Rings TV show, but apparently, it will begin before the events of Fellowship of the Ring. So, this could mean they are looking more at The Children of Hurin, or the Tale of Beren and Luthien. They could go as far back as The Silmarillion, but I doubt that. The Silmarillion is a really dense text with mostly history, but it could be entertaining if done the right way. But I hope they’re not calling it Lord of the Rings without telling that story. A lot of fans of Jackson’s films are not excited at that prospect, but I think a retelling would be really cool.
Will it be Thrones 2.0?
It seems fantasy is taking off on the small screen, especially with the success of Game of Thrones. HBO apparently had no interest in the Lord of the Rings project, and it makes sense, as they’re wrapping up Game of Thrones in 2019. But Tolkien and George R.R. Martin are wildly different.
That’s not to say that Amazon won’t take a page from HBO’s book. I think we can expect a more raw view of Middle Earth – gruesome violence and even sex. Those things captivate audiences even outside of the fantasy genre. Tolkien’s work doesn’t have too much of those things, but I think they will add it to draw interest.
What can be added with the TV show format?
I think we can also expect more details. Tolkien is extremely detailed in his books, almost to the point of being annoying, and I think the TV show will reflect that. Jackson had limited time to tell the story in the films, so a lot of characters and scenes were cut, but with episodes, I think we will get to see a lot of what we missed. So, they could include characters like Tom Bombadil, and maybe we will get to see the love story of Faramir and Eowyn actually play out on screen. I’m still incredibly salty that we saw so much of Aragorn and Arwen, when Faramir and Eowyn had almost an entire chapter dedicated to them. Basically, I’m hoping for more book accuracy.
Another element I hope will make it to the TV show is music. Jackson’s films had an incredible score. Lord of the Rings was made into a musical, which didn’t do well because it is basically impossible to condense that story into a two-hour show, but the music from that production was amazing. Music is a big part of Tolkien’s work, in Lord of the Rings and his other stories. Many tales are told through song, and I hope that the show can showcase that part of Middle Earth. As I said before, a fresh take on the music, like including rap and hip-hop styles, could make this show really engaging, and relatable to a wider audience.
Conclusion: I’m excited!
Overall, I’m looking forward to a re-imagining of Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s world is vast, and really lends itself to the screen. I can’t wait to see what comes of it!