It was the end of an era when The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies took theaters by storm in 2015, only 14 years after The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring started the series off with a running start. Of course, with each passing year, or in this case with a new addition to the literary canon, of author J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga, one has to wonder: will there ever be a cinematic return to Middle Earth? The publication of a newly revealed short story just might be the key to make it happen.
"The Tale of Beren and Luthien" is a short story written by Tolkien in 1917, which has now found new life thanks to publisher HarperCollins. In its narrative is a love story between a human and an elf, which ultimately ends up being a prequel of sorts to the existence of Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. With the lore of J.R.R. Tolkien's series being as voluminous as it is, I'd like to think that a new story such as this would be the key to bringing the series back to the silver screen. However, there's two pretty big factors that have us thinking the road to such a prospect would be a hard one.
Probably most important is the fact that despite the success and box office dollars that Middle Earth has brought in, the Tolkien Estate has some bad blood with New Line and Warner Bros. Between their issues with the narrative changes, as well as a lot of money that was supposedly owed to the estate, the franchise that brought in tons of Oscars and billions of dollars was put on ice. As if that wasn't daunting enough, "The Tale of Beren and Luthien" is probably the most personal tale in the Middle Earth canon, as noted in further details given by The Wrap. Its central love story not only helped J.R.R. Tolkien overcome the trauma he'd experienced while serving in World War I, it was also a story that paid tribute to how much he loved his wife.
If the Tolkien Estate is still upset about how they were treated during the Middle Earth series' previous cinematic run, then that's a big stumbling block for adapting this very personal story. Still, that's not to say that other studios, or even New Line and Warner Bros, couldn't eventually make offers on the property brought to light by this recent publishing. Folks still obviously love the Lord of the Rings, as well as the rest of the Middle Earth saga, so there's still a money printing potential if a new project in the franchise lands a successful deal. But ultimately, as optimistic as we are that we'll get to see more tales of men, elves, and hobbits, it will ultimately be the decision of the Tolkien Estate that either vindicates or damns our eager hearts.
For now, the Middle Earth saga's six films are all on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD. If you're looking to read the story we discussed above, you'll be able to enjoy it in the book Beren and Luthien, which is in stores now. At this moment, there are no plans for any further cinematic adaptations in the Middle Earth.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.