Warner Bros has just announced that it will revive The Lord of the Rings franchise, but rather than return to Middle-earth for Lord of the Rings 4, the production company should just fix The Hobbit. Under New Line Cinema, the same company that produced Peter Jackson’s incredibly successful Lord of the Rings film series, Warner Bros is planning “multiple films based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien’s books.” (via Variety). Working in conjunction with Amazon, which purchased the TV rights to Lord of the Rings to produce its Rings of Power series, Warner Bros promises new stories set in Tolkien’s high fantasy world of Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits.
Jackson’s original trilogy grossed 3 billion dollars worldwide, and The Hobbit trilogy, which the director based on Tolkien’s single short story about Bilbo Baggins’ journey to steal Smaug’s treasure and encounter with the One Ring, grossed nearly as much despite being expanded to encompass three films. In his first trilogy, there was so much source material the director had to make prudent choices about what to include, and they didn’t always sit well with audiences. In his second, the addition of new characters and events ignited resentment in Tolkien purists that’s still harbored today, and the Warner Bros announcement only adds to the scrutiny of The Hobbit films.
Lord Of The Rings 4 Doesn’t Need To Happen
Peter Jackson’s trilogy has its share of detractors, but by and large, it’s considered a triumph of cinema, making Lord of the Rings 4 seem superfluous. Building off of the War of the Ring and expanding a story that was already so poetically and respectfully concluded will only seem like a quick cash grab, even if Tolkien technically did write drafts for a sequel story. The author scrapped them, including an abandoned sequel The New Shadow which alluded to a new, darker enemy for Middle-earth, ultimately concluding he’d already told the story he needed to tell.
Beloved Middle-Earth characters already received their sendoffs; Aragorn wed Arwen and ruled as the benevolent King of Gondor, Frodo joined Bilbo, Galadriel, and Elrond by sailing West into the Undying Lands, and Samwise returned to The Shire along with Merry and Pippin to marry Rosie and start the next chapter of his life. A fourth Lord of the Rings movie would simply undo all the hard work that went into tying up all the trilogy’s loose ends and making sure every character’s personal journey had a fulfilling destination. Besides, if it wasn’t good, it would tarnish the strong opinion of the three movies.
Warner Bros Should Remake The Hobbit As 1 Movie
Given what went wrong with The Hobbit movies and their reputation for being bloated and overly long, Warner Bros should consider remaking them into one film. Fan edits already exist that take out extraneous characters like Tauriel (who never existed in the book) and plot lines like her relationship with Legolas and Kili. It’s possible to restore the novel’s integrity by streamlining the running time to something more befitting the short story that Tolkien wrote.
While it’s nice to get a sense of the Dwarven culture and see a young Bilbo Baggins full of vigor, The Hobbit didn’t need to be turned into a trilogy. Trying to replicate the success of The Lord of the Rings movies only serves to highlight how different the trilogies truly are, and how excessively Jackson changed Tolkien’s original Hobbit content. The story went from being a beloved children’s classic into the same overblown action-heavy epic that characterized his other three films, and it never got to stand on its own.
Other Lord Of The Rings Movies Warner Bros Can Make
As The Rings of Power has demonstrated, there are many eras of Middle-earth that could be explored if other Lord of the Rings movies get made. For one thing, there are plenty of tales to tell in Tolkien’s Silmarillion, the massive anthology that chronicles all the family trees and lineages of the most prominent Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, and other beings in Middle-earth. Currently, an anime called War of the Rohirrim is set to release in 2024 that takes place in the Third Age, several hundred years before the events of either Jackson’s Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings timeline, and that will show a very different Kingdom of Rohan.
Despite exploring several ages, The Rings of Power has skipped through hundreds of years of Middle-earth history in each episode, leaving large gaps that could be filled by Lord of the Rings movies. The Children of Húrin, the first Wizards of Middle-earth, or even Tom Bombadil, who was a beloved character cut from The Fellowship of the Ring, are all subjects that fans would love to see given the same dazzling treatment. If Warner Bros doesn’t give The Hobbit the attention it deserves, perhaps it will explore Tolkien’s other stories before tacking on Lord of the Rings 4 to the beloved trilogy.
MORE: Why Gandalf’s Final Hobbit Scene Isn’t A Lord Of The Rings Plot Hole