Thought Peter Jackson was done with Middle Earth? Well, you’d be wrong. The director has announced plans for an ambitious adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s THE SILMARILLION.
As with the director’s previous visits to Middle Earth, the films will be released a year apart. The only difference is, this time, instead of splitting a story over three films, it will this time be split over a trilogy of trilogies.
Speaking to STARBURST ahead of the Blu-ray release of his new, 10-hour director’s cut of KING KONG, Jackson revealed his plans: “The idea just came to us one day. We’d been looking at ways to adapt THE SILMARILLION, and there isn’t an easy one. The book spans millennia, and there was no simple way to condense it. So we thought ‘Why should we?’ We’re giving it the epic treatment it deserves.”
For those not familiar with THE SILMARILLION, it covers the entire history of Middle Earth, from its creation, up to the end of The Third Age, which is when LORD OF THE RINGS is set. Although a slender, 350-odd pages, the book offers an overview of the whole of the history of Tolkien’s creation. To give an idea of the scope of the book, the whole of LORD OF THE RINGS is condensed into just a couple of pages.
“The first film will cover the opening paragraphs of the book, while the subsequent films expand on it” Jackson continues. “We’ve plotted out the story for the first six films, and my intention is that my children will take over directing duties when I’m unable to continue. They’ve grown up on THE LORD OF THE RINGS and HOBBIT sets (and have cameos in many of the movies) and they’ll be perfect to continue this epic story.”
“Obviously, we have to plan ahead. With people like Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, whose characters have scenes throughout the films, we’re going to shoot all their parts at the start of filming, rather than recast them later, and Christopher Lee will be appearing through unused footage from THE HOBBIT.”
It’s a huge undertaking, and one which, should it succeed will doubtless delight the series’ scores of fans around the world. The first part of the SILMARILLION is tentatively scheduled for release in 2018, with the final trilogy expected to end in 2026. Jackson, added, “Who knows” he quips, “maybe I’ll start on THE UNFINISHED TALES after that!”
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