Twenty years later, Warner Bros. is going back to Middle-Earth.
Warner Bros. Discovery is developing a new series of “Lord of the Rings” films, CEO David Zaslav announced on an earnings call Thursday.
“Multiple” films based on the iconic J. R. R. Tolkien books will be spearheaded by newly-installed studio leaders Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy.
Details for the plot of the films are still unclear, but De Luca and Abdy hinted that they will go deeper into the history of Middle-Earth.
“Twenty years ago, New Line took an unprecedented leap of faith to realize the incredible stories, characters and world of ‘Lord of the Rings’ on the big screen. The result was a landmark series of films that have been embraced by generations of fans,” De Luca and Abdy said in a statement, according to The Wrap.
“But for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien remains largely unexplored on film. The opportunity to invite fans deeper into the cinematic world of Middle-earth is an honor, and we are excited to partner with Middle-Earth Enterprises and Embracer on this adventure.”
The cost of the deal made between Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Embracer Group — the current rights holders to Tolkien’s novels — has yet to be released. Meanwhile, Amazon’s series, “The Ring of Power,” purportedly cost over one billion and Amazon paid a whopping $250 million for the rights.
Embracer acquired the rights to the books last year when it purchased Middle-Earth Enterprises from The Saul Zaentz Company. The company holds the rights for motion picture, stage, and video game adaptations of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, as well as its prequel, “The Hobbit.”
No filmmakers have been named for the project yet, but Peter Jackson, who helmed the first trilogy, and his main collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens told Variety that Warner Bros. and Embracer “have kept us in the loop every step of the way.”
“We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward,” Jackson, Walsh and Boyens said.
These upcoming films will join the anime Middle-Earth film “The War of the Rohirrim” developed by New Line, which is currently set for a 2024 release.
The third movie of the original trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” hit theaters in 2003 — 20 years before this announcement. The first movie, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” came out in 2001, and the second movie, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” in 2002.