The Embracer Group recently acquired partial licenses from the Tolkien Estate to make new films based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. These will probably take the form of spinoff movies based on characters like Gandalf and Aragorn. But will they suck? We're afraid they probably will.
First, let's give you a quick overview of the Embracer Group are and the new movies we're talking about.
The Embracer Group is a massive media conglomerate, mainly involved in video games. Recently, they purchased the rights to the fictional works of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (not exclusive rights, don't worry, other projects like the Gollum game and the Rings of Power can continue just fine). The Embracer Group want to use these rights to make new games and movies.
We aren't sure about the games they plan to make, but they specifically mentioned spinoff movies in a press release from 2022:
Additional movies based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
And in an even more recent press release, they confirmed that these would be feature-length movies, and they would be made in collaboration with Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.
Okay, so new Middle Earth movies are coming, they will be feature-length productions, and they will most likely focus on a single main character each. Those are the basic facts. Now here's why we think you should prepare for disappointment.
Why We're Worried About The New Spinoff LotR Movies...
Before anyone worries that we're just Tolkien-haters, check out our review of The Rings of Power. We love Tolkien, and we want to see Middle Earth treated with the respect it deserves. But we do have some concerns about what the Embracer Group are planning.
What Source Material Will They Use?
The first obvious problem for this new set of films is going to be the source material. As with the Rings of Power, the Embracer Group will not have access to the full legendarium, instead they will only have access to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They can still do an awful lot with just that, but it does mean that if they want to show us other parts of Middle Earth, or anything from before the 3rd Age, then they will need to use a lot of creative license.
They might do an excellent job of inventing their own stories to fill the gaps left by the source material they can't use, but it makes the whole process more difficult.
Do They Have A Record-Breaking Budget?
The Jackson trilogy set a standard for how Middle Earth should look, and there's no going back. In fact, the problem of cost is compounded for Lord of the Rings because the fans are particularly averse to CGI. Even if it takes a huge part of their budget, the producers will need to spend everything they can on massive sets, thousands of extras, and great prosthetics, otherwise we'll all start making comparisons to The Hobbit trilogy.
Who Is The Target Audience?
There are millions of Tolkien fans in the world, and they're always looking for new content. But some of these fans have basically just watched the movies, while others can speak Elvish. So who should the producers try and target with this new set of movies? Should they lean into ancient lore and appease the hardcore fans, or should they try and lighten the source material to make it more relatable to a wider audience?
That's an incredibly tough decision, and we're not saying we know the right answer, but it makes us concerned for these new films.
Those were just a few of the problems we thought about when we first heard about the new movies. Please let us know in the comments how you feel about spinoff films. Are you excited, or do you share our concerns?
Speaking of new probably-going-to-flop Fantasy content: