Last week, I asked whether or not The Hobbit films deserved extended editions and this week I’ve decided to take a look at what the future of Middle Earth could look like on film beyond this trilogy. In truth, there are only two ways in which this future could exist; the first being an adaptation of Professor Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. The book itself is a vast and detailed account of Middle Earth’s history, its creation, and the legendary stories that take place over its three ages. A dense read that delves deep into a poetic mythology created by Tolkien, some have said it to be an impossible task to turn it into a film due to the sheer amount of wondrous imagery described in the book; but then again the same was once said about The Lord Of The Rings.
The book has battles aplenty that include dragons and balrog’s, so visually and narratively it would make for an astounding series of films, in the hands of the right director. However there is one big reason why an adaptation of The Silmarillion will probably never be made; more to do with legality as opposed to the logistics of bringing it to the screen. Tolkien’s family have never approved of the films that have been based on his work and have made that publicly clear. As they hold the rights for The Silmarillion, rumour has it that they have flat out refused to hand them over to Jackson or any other studio due to their dissatisfaction with previous films. With this likely to never change, the only other way we could see Middle Earth on the big-screen again is through an original story.
The chances of an original story based on Tolkien’s work ever being made into a film is less likely to happen than his estate selling the rights to his previous work; but it is a potential avenue the studios could take in creating further adventures set in Middle Earth. After all, why wouldn’t they want to? The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies have grossed billions combined, and despite critical backlash against the latter, there is ever the wide audience for these type of films. If they can’t make more money out of the franchise through further adaptations then why not approach writers to come up with original ideas that could delve deeper into the mythology whilst never crossing any legal boundaries. Despite the future of Middle Earth being uncertain, one thing is for sure; as a franchise of such worldwide worth, eventually there will be more films made within the rich universe Tolkien has created. Whether that’s another ten years from now or even longer, the temptation will be too much not to return to the world. Whether it should be left alone after The Hobbit comes to an end is another debate all together, but as a fan of both sets of films I can’t deny that the chance to see the glory of Middle Earth in some shape or form in the future would be an exciting prospect no matter what the material. Until then, I shall be watching The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies on December 12th, with the same bittersweet joy as when I saw The Return Of The King.
So what are your thoughts? Would you like to see further Middle Earth adventures or do you think it should be left alone after The Hobbit? Leave your thoughts below!
Next week: Is Toy Story 4 an idea best left in the toybox?