Christopher Tolkien, son of JRR Tolkien, has announced his resignation as the director of the Tolkien estate – and the timing of the move has fans speculating about the future of Middle Earth on screen.
According to Tolkien blogger Michael Martinez, the 93-year old Tolkien officially stood down at the end of August, having held his position in his father’s estate since 1973. Although the film rights to ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ had already sold at that time, Tolkien firmly refused to sell the rights to any more of his father’s works thereafter.
Martinez predicts a “rights frenzy” to the remaining Tolkien works is sure to follow, and it looks like the recently announced ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series from Amazon is just the start of this. It seems feasible that some sort of Middle Earth screen universe may be in the offing.
Aside from ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ the other key Middle Earth book by JRR Tolkien is ‘The Silmarillion,’ which many fans have long hoped for a screen adaptation of.
Beyond this, the author left many short stories and unfinished works, many of which have been published in editions edited by Christopher Tolkien; the most recent of which, ‘The Tale of Beren and Lúthien,’ was first published earlier this year.
The existing ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogies from director Peter Jackson and Warner Bros/New Line Cinema made over $5.847 billion at the worldwide box office.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is producing the new ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series (rumoured to possibly be set between the events of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’), but no other talent is known to be attached at this time.