I once knew this really cool geek girl who adamantly refused to watch Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. She also repeatedly turned up her nose at Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of the hallowed classic.
Her reasoning? Both Jackson and Bakshi strayed from the official Lord of the Rings canon. In her mind, the LOTR text was literally Holy Gospel, written by the Apostle J.R.R. Tolkien.
As such, so-called “loose” interpretations of the Book and sweeping omissions were utterly intolerable.
For example, those familiar with Tolkien’s greatest work know both Bakshi and Jackson declined to include Tom Bombadil (aka Iarwain Ben-adar) in their respective films.
Essentially, the two believed Bombadil did little to advance the story and would make the movie “unnecessarily” long.
True, Bombadil is only a supporting character, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing the mysterious Forn and his wife Goldberry make some sort of appearance in either Jackson’s or Bakshi’s interpretation of LOTR.
All this makes me wonder if Middle Earth Enterprises (formerly known as Tolkien Enterprises) will eventually open up Tolkien’s high epic fantasy by reducing licensing fees and offering more flexible terms of service.
Although I could do without the inevitable deluge of poorly written spinoff books (please, no more Kevin Anderson novels), a more open Middle Earth could allow a filmmaker like Jackson to create a LOTR mini-series that would offer a comprehensive and faithful visual depiction of the beloved trilogy.
I’m fully aware such a potential project is likely to face immense challenges, like convincing mainstream viewers to watch yet more LOTR, not to mention the thorny legal issues inherent in creating such a sweeping series.
Still, I wouldn’t discount the possibility entirely. I’m eager to see how The Hobbit performs, because if the movie does end up generating millions, it could theoretically provide the impetus for future LOTR projects.