Thursday, June 10, 2021

Lord of the Rings Prequel Anime Movie Coming to Theaters

New Line and Warner Animation have announced a new prequel anime movie to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies called "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim."  The film is still in its early stages of pre-production but Rings trilogy writer Philippa Boyens will be a consult on the project. No indication yet if Rings director Peter Jackson or other writer Fran Walsh will be involved.  The project will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Eden of the East, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex).

The story is set around 250 years before The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to tell the story of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan and namesake of Helm's Deep. Its not based on any book but rather the appendices and other information gleamed about the the character and battle site via the Appendices. No release date announced but best case is 1 year from now, more likely scenario is 2023.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Amazon's Middle-Earth 1st Season Costs More Than Trilogy

Amazon's Middle-Earth series (its not a Lord of the Rings series despite news reports unable to get that right) continues to film in New Zealand. Part of the decision to film there wasn't just because it was used for The Lord of the Rings trilogy whose look and feel will strongly influence the series, but also because of a subsidy that the country agreed to for them to film there.  Due to that, it means public disclosure.  

NZ Stuff news site is reporting that the cost of the first season of the Middle-Earth series is estimated to be $465 million (converted from kiki dollars) calculated from the $116 million subsidy paid to Amazon. This would likely make it the most expensive television season ever made. For comparison, the most expensive trilogy ever, The Hobbit, costs $623 million while the Lord of the Rings trilogy was $300 million. 

The assumption is the costs will dramatically go down for seasons that follow as a lot of it is startup costs due to getting such a large scale production going. Part of it essentially building a mini city to feed and house all involved in filming the series since a good chunk of cast and crew will come from around the world, not just pulled from New Zealand.  That is estimated to be 1,200 people directly and additional 700 indirectly (think vendors of supplies and the like). 

The series is aiming for a cinematic look, as a result its effectively like starting LOTR and Hobbit films from scratch all over again with likely the same scale of the two combined. Since its a fantasy realm, its means pretty much every location has to be built in some form or fashion. Add to that the cost costumes, weapons and a slew of other things. However, where those movie builds only had to last for at most a few months of filming at a location, I suspect all these build-outs have to be much more robust (and so more expensive) as they will be used repeatedly over potentially years of filming.

End result is it tells you that Amazon is not cutting any corners on this series and what we will get should, if the writing and acting is there, be something that will stand proudly with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and maybe surpass it.  Seasons 1 and 2 of the series is currently in production. There is no information number of episodes or when it will be released but at current pace it appears to be either late this year or sometime next year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Official Synopsis for Amazon's Middle-Earth Series

It looks like we finally have a synopsis for the Middle-Earth series that looks to be acting as a prequel of sorts to the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books which is in the Third Age of Middle-Earth. The series is set in the Second Age of Middle-Earth which is a time frame where Suaron repeatedly tried to gain control of the world and also eventually forged the rings of power.
Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of NĂºmenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

At its core, the Second Age is about the conflicts that arose between various kingdoms of man, elves, and dwarves with Sauron often driving the conflicts from behind the scenes. Its really a fantasy version of the same political intrigue that plagued Europe in the middle ages. Only in Middle-Earth terms these events take place over thousands of years as everyone involved are verly long lived. I imagine Amazon plans on condensing the time line significantly (or at least ignoring it) since the rise and fall of many of the kingdoms could probably be told as if events occured on a 100 year or so time scale. If interested in an overview of the known history of Middle-Earth, its worth reading the timeline put together by Collider.