The ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series that Amazon recently announced suddenly makes a lot more sense. It turns out that Christopher R. Tolkien, the 93 year-old son of author J.R.R. Tolkien has resigned from the Tolkien Estate. This transition actually occurred on August 31st. The delay in the announcement had to do with not just Christopher’s departure but restructuring to fill the void he left. Tolkien’s youngest child Priscilla Tolkien and various grandchildren remain as part of the estate.
Christopher Tolkien, it seems, was far more protective of and selective with his father’s works. Solid sources state that the other members of the estate are more willing to negotiate J.R.R.’s works for use in other media. Christopher was said to be more interested in preserving his father’s legacy than money.
As Tolkien expert Michael Martinez stated via Twitter:
“With Christopher’s departure as an officer of the Tolkien Estate (which was incorporated in 2011), the long-awaited “rights frenzy” for Tolkien properties may soon begin.”
While Christopher only resigned just over two months ago, the estate wasted no time in brokering the television series deal. At this point, it is unknown whether the estate and Middle-Earth Enterprises will stick to further developing aspects of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ or if they may begin delving into Tolkien’s lesser-known works, of which there are many, including “Beren and Luthien,” which was published just this year, with a forward and afterward by Christopher. With Disney creating the ‘Star Wars’ anthology films like ‘Rogue One’ and ‘Solo’ as well as a new trilogy, and HBO hoping to create at least one ‘Game of Thrones’ spin-off to expand the mythology of Westeros, it’s entirely possible that Amazon could do something similar with Middle Earth, with new characters and stories set within the same realm as the existing books and films.
Earlier this year, the Tolkien Estate and Warner Brothers settled a lawsuit, which culminated with WB paying out $80 million, but stating that they were looking forward to working with the estate in the future.
With Christopher’s departure, fans should take a moment to appreciate the care with which he handled his father’s intellectual properties. But now? It remains to be seen just how much more we’ll see of Tolkien’s works in television and film in the coming years.
Source: The One Ring