Since the announcement of the Amazon Middle-earth series (which will take place after The Hobbit: Part 3 but before The Fellowship of the Ring) I’ve been mulling things over.
First off, all the major news announcements etc have said “Lord of the Rings”. In terms of plot, that is simply not true – we are not going from Hobbiton to Mount Doom with Frodo etc. HOWEVER, the material in which the Amazon series will be based on is found within the pages of the book known as The Lord of the Rings, or to be more precise, The Return of the King. It will be based on what is found within the Appendices, most likely.
A re-boot or remake of the Peter Jackson films to me would be a terrible idea. Any adaptation has changes from its source material from one medium into another. The films have been very well received by both critics and fans. The Hobbit films, is another manner. Opinion on them is a bit more more…divided. Since the Amazon series will most likely ‘supplement’ both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings film trilogies.
“Now…where to begin?”
It would be great if the Amazon series strove for the same look and feel as the Jackson films. Moreso Rings than Hobbit (due to CGI, mostly). The series doesn’t need to be ‘mature’ (here’s no explicit or graphic nudity and / or violence in Tolkien. It’s there but it’s not a focus.). Because of that, I can see the show being violence-heavy. Say, a late-night prime-time network show, or ‘tame’ for HBO /AMZ / Starz type of premium cable. My point is, it doesn’t need to be graphic in any sense of the word, but if it were to be, it would most likely be due to the violence.
Now with that out of the way, let’s have a look at specifically what the show can be about.
There was a video game that came out a few years ago called War in the North. The plot was that it occurred during The Lord of the Rings, but it wasn’t a re-telling of the books. In fact, the story somewhat “supplements” The Lord of the Rings, because of the fact it takes during the same time, but in other areas of Middle-earth, and focusing on other aspects of the lore. It would be neat if the series wasn’t based on the game exactly, per se, but taking a similar approach – showing us events and locations that have only been mentioned in passing, and showing us other locations and how they connect to the main story and the overall picture.
Also, one of the bigger questions will be whether or not this Amazon series will be connected the 'Jackson-verse' of Middle-earth. Because it's not a "re-telling" of The Lord of the Rings (Hobbiton - Mordor) or The Hobbit, it would make sense that it would. However, would WETA etc still be involved? There is a lot more "unknown" than "known" at this point. Chronicling the events in the North of Middle-earth between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring would be interesting, indeed.
Either way, we will have to see closer to its release. Synopsis, trailer etc have yet to be revealed and that will give us a better understanding of what to expect.