There and back...and there again. We find ourselves asking the age-old question: is it possible to have too much of a good thing? (Answer: Depends. Black Mirror marathon? Yes. McDonald's chicken nuggets? No. Middle-Earth franchise? TBD.)
Here's what we know:
1. Amazon has purchased the television rights to Tolkien's Middle Earth franchise for an undisclosed amount of money (but probably in the 200-250 million dollar range) from the Tolkien Estate and Trust.
2. It will take place before the Fellowship of the Ring storyline.
3. The big sale happened shortly after Christopher Tolkien (J.R.R.'s baby boy) stepped down from his position as Tolkien Estate director.
4. We shouldn't expect to see anything on-screen until 2020 (mayyybe late 2019?) at the earliest. The script hasn't been written yet, let alone cast and filmed.
Here's what the haters are saying:
John Rhys-Davies (you may know him as Legolas/Orly Bloom's bestie 'Gimli') is quoted as saying, "I mean, poor Tolkien must be spinning in his grave." Those are some pretty big words for such a small character. (Get it? Small? Because he plays a dwarf?) While we see why he might be upset, we also find it difficult to take anything he says seriously considering he spent the entire trilogy with crimped hair and beard braids.
More to the point, his main argument is that this whole thing is just for money. Um... we highly doubt he worked as an unpaid intern for Peter Jackson's LOTR.
Some franchise fans are upset that this new series may cause Tolkien's work to be dragged on too long, in much the same way that The Hobbit's 300 pages were turned into an 8-hour-long trilogy.
Many bloggers and journalists have also used the word "crazy" in regards to how much Amazon spent on the rights alone and for thinking it can compete with Game of Thrones. Oh, is it "crazy"? Crazier than purchasing the rights to an UNFINISHED book series because there's NO WAY he won't finish TWO BOOKS after SEVEN SEASONS? Yeah, let's keep our "crazies" to ourselves.
Here's what we think:
First and foremost, we think it's the best decision Amazon's made since they purchased Whole Foods and made us subscribe to Amazon Prime to get a discount on our Thanksgiving turkey. Well played, Amazon.
While we understand the hesitation from a lot of fans, we can't help but yearn for more hairy hobbit feet. There is so much Tolkien literature that has yet to be touched upon that the source material is almost unlimited. Baby boy is now 93 and *just* stopped publishing his father's unfinished works.
Other LOTR franchise stars have reacted much more positively than Grumpy Gimli. Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, and Andy Serkis have all made supportive comments in regards to the new series, to which we must reply:
If it's okay with Gandalf, fuck yeah it's okay with us.