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Lord Of The Rings: Everything We Know About Hunt For Gollum And The Other Movies

20 years after Peter Jackson's movies, WB/New Line is beginning work on new films.


Believe it or not, Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings movies debuted more than 20 years ago. The third movie, Return of the King, swept the Oscars and won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Jackson. He followed those up with a much less critically adored (but still commercially successful!) The Hobbit trilogy. Now, two decades on, Warner Bros. and New Line have announced plans to make new The Lord of the Rings movies, and that makes for potentially exciting news for fans of the series.

As with any announcement about new entries to a beloved series, some fans are skeptical, and understandably so. WB/New Line is plotting ahead with an attempt to create what insiders are calling a Star Wars-like universe for Middle-earth. These new movies are coming as Amazon Studios plots its own legally and creatively distinct Lord of the Rings project with the TV series The Rings of Power, which is now under production for Season 2.

In this post, we're rounding up everything we know about the new Lord of the Rings movies, which begin with a film focused on Gollum.

What is Lord of the Rings: Hunt for Gollum about?

Details remain scant on the story, but Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said Lord of the Rings: Hunt for Gollum--which is a working title--will tell a tale focused on Gollum within the Lord of the Rings universe.

Andy Serkis, who famously played Gollum in Jackson's trilogy, is coming back to play Gollum again and direct the film, according to Variety. Previously, Serkis said he would jump at the chance to come back and play Gollum again, and now that is coming true.

The name of the film, which is only a working title, suggests the movie could be set during the time when Gandalf is worried that Gollum may reveal details on the One Ring to Sauron so he dispatches Aragorn on a quest to track Gollum down.

The new Lord of the Rings movie will "explore storylines yet to be told." And in news that may please fans, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh are involved "every step of the way." Zaslav said Lord of the Rings is "one of the most successful and revered" franchises in film history, and he believes there continues to be a "significant opportunity" for the franchises from a theatrical perspective.

Who's going to be in Hunt for Gollum?

It's still very early days, as the script for Hunt for Gollum is still being worked on, but what is confirmed thus far is that Serkis is coming back to play Gollum once again. He portrayed the character in Jackson's original trilogy, and his performance set the standard for CG characters in film. Serkis would go on to play other CG characters after Rings, including Caesar in the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Is there a trailer for Hunt for Gollum?

No. The film was only just announced on May 9, and filming has not begun--the script is still being worked on--so there is no trailer for Hunt for Gollum yet.

Who's directing Hunt for Gollum?

Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies, will direct Hunt for Gollum and star in it as the title character.

When is Hunt for Gollum coming out?

It's still very early days for Hunt for Gollum, but Warner Bros. Discovery said it's targeting a 2026 release for the film. This suggests the movie is being fast-tracked, as that's only two years away. With the script currently unfinished and no word on a supporting cast, it seems like the team will have to move fast to meet the 2026 date. As always, though, the movie could be delayed as many Hollywood productions often are.

The announcement and vision

Out of seemingly nowhere, WB Discovery boss David Zaslav announced on an earnings call in February 2023 that WB/New Line would be developing new The Lord of the Rings films. The executive did not provide a whole lot of context and commentary, but management made it clear that the new films will not be remakes of Jackson's films or retread old ground.

"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," Warner Bros Pictures Group Co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Addy said. "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."

A scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
A scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Who owns Lord of the Rings?

The Swedish gaming giant Embracer acquired Middle-earth Enterprises, the stewards and rights-owners to The Lord of the Rings series, in August 2022. Embracer then brokered a deal with WB/New Line to make additional films, which is what the February announcement was. Embracer also owns the rights to The Lord of the Rings video games, and the company has five titles in the works to be released in the next two years. Middle-earth Enterprises was formerly owned and controlled by the Saul Zaentz Company, which was suing Warner Bros. over claims that it was not fulfilling its duties to retain the Lord of the Rings license. To try to settle things, WB announced a new Lord of the Rings animated movie, War of the Rohirrim, but Zaentz said this was "insufficient," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Given the crumbling relationship, Embracer stepped in and bought Middle-earth Enterprises and got into business with WB/New Line.

What will the new movies actually be?

Beyond the Gollum film, Warner Bros. Discovery has announced plans for more LOTR films, but they remain a mystery for now. For its part, Embracer said it might explore potential films surrounding characters like Aragorn, Gandalf, Galadriel, and others, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, there are no scripts yet. It's still very early days, it would seem, making WB/New Line's announcement more of a first step in what may be a long journey. In any event, insiders speaking to THR said WB/New Line is aiming to create a Star Wars-like cinematic universe for The Lord of the Rings, and that might be an exciting or terrifying description to hear for fans of the fantasy franchise.

Is Peter Jackson Involved?

Jackson is a massive fan of The Lord of the Rings and his passion is part of what made the original trilogy so great. So fans may be happy to learn that Jackson–along with his writing partners Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens–were briefed on the plans for WB/New Line's new films. And they are now officially connected to Hunt for Gollum, to begin with. The trio were not involved in Amazon's The Rings of Power, and fans have made their feelings clear about this. Whether or not Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens will return for any of the new films in an official capacity beyond advisory roles is unclear. However, THR said WB Discovery CEO David Zaslav is hoping to "woo back" Jackson.

War of the Rohirrim

While fans will no doubt have to wait years for any new Lord of the Rings movie, WB/New Line is actually already producing an animated Lord of the Rings film due for release in 2024. The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim is in production now, with Brian Cox and LOTR veteran Mirando Otto lined up for voice roles in the flick. Following a delay, it's now slated for release theatrically in December.

The War of the Rohirrim releases in 2024
The War of the Rohirrim releases in 2024

How does Rings of Power fit in?

Amazon Studios made one of the biggest investments ever for its Lord of the Rings TV show, The Rings of Power, with the company reportedly paying $250 million for the rights alone. The production costs, meanwhile, are rumored to stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Amazon Studios is moving ahead with Season 2, which is filming now, and the creatives have plans for five seasons in total, so The Rings of Power seems like it'll be around for the long-term and potentially go up against new films from WB/New Line. Can the two co-exist? According to Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke, they sure can, because the fandom is so large.

"We love our original series. We're extremely proud of it, and invested long term. So, we definitely think there's enough fan love to sustain ours for a long time," she said.

Does anyone actually want more LOTR movies?

The last big Middle-earth movie (not counting Fox's 2019 film Tolkien starring Nicholas Hoult as the iconic author) was The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies from Peter Jackson in 2014. Much has already been written about the creative struggles of those films, with Jackson eventually admitting he had no idea what he was doing and making things up as he went along. This was in great contrast to his Lord of the Rings movies, which benefited from extensive storyboarding and pre-production work that helped the final product shine.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo in The Hobbit
Martin Freeman as Bilbo in The Hobbit

This leads to the question of whether or not Lord of the Rings fans even want to see more movies. An insider told THR that WB/New Line's announcement of more movies was a "sign of desperation" to help rekindle the glory days of old. "The Hobbit didn't leave people wanting more," the source said.

That level of pessimism, of course, doesn't speak for everyone, and anything can happen in the future. The fact that The Hobbit wasn't so well-loved doesn't necessarily mean much of anything about what future films might look like. Time will tell, and as Aragorn says, "There is always hope."

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