With all of the talk about Amazon acquiring the rights for a ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series in the style of ‘Game of Thrones’ (and clearly hoping to have the same kind of success as ‘Game of Thrones’), a lot of people have been wondering why HBO did not try to take that franchise and do with ‘Lord of the Rings’ what they did with ‘Game of Thrones.’ According to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, the biggest reason for HBO passing on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ has to do with the fact that they already have ‘Game of Thrones’ and are currently working on 5 prequel ideas for that franchise, which they have complete control over.
In his words:
“I’d rather own our IP [intellectual property] 100%… and I’d rather have the ability to work with a product that is inextricably linked to our brand.”
According to Plepler, big-picture-wise, Warner Bros is a sister company to HBO under Time Warner, so the company as a whole will be making money on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise regardless because the series will be produced under the New Line Cinema division of Warner Bros, so there was not really a huge business need to keep the franchise in house.
Personally, I think the whole idea of a ‘Lord of the Rings’ series is risky anyways, and HBO and Plepler are being smart not to gamble on a series that already found huge success at the box-office so recently. I do not believe they will find the same success with a television release. Half the fun of ‘Game of Thrones,’ especially the most recent seasons, is the fact that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. You tune in because you are intrigued and excited to see how things play out, and you watch it close to the air date because you do not want to be spoiled. Everyone can look up right now exactly what happens in ‘Lord of the Rings,’ the suspense is gone. Sure they can have some B-Plots or some new characters, but as happened with Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit,’ that doesn’t not always work out or really fit. The main story will still always take center stage, and we all know how that ends.
What are your thoughts here? Are you disappointed that HBO did not try for ‘Lord of the Rings?’ Are you excited at the prospect of a TV adaptation of the franchise? Or are you weary of what it will become? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!