I am so sorry for the lack of updates lately. The last few weeks has been CRAZY. My oldest daughter graduated high school, and my youngest had her middle school play – we are heavily involved in the drama programs with both kids, and I emcee the annual high school drama banquet, which was a few weeks ago as well. And that’s on top of “normal life” – so it’s been tough trying to follow all the news – we’re very behind in all our RV shows as well, and I owe a friend a book review as well…but anyways, here is a rapid recap of the last week or so…
HBO has given a pilot order for one of five the potential Game Of Thrones spinoffs, this one for a prequel series set in the “golden age of Heroes”, which “descends into its darkest hour”, where we will learn about the white walkers, the Starks of legend, and more. Given it was just announced, there is no director, cast, etc. yet but it comes from Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman) and George R.R. Martin, with Goldman acting as showrunner. Martin said on his blog he currently prefers the title “The Long Night”, but that isn’t definite yet. Martin also said that one of the other four ideas for spinoffs has been shelved, but the other three are still possible.
As for that other fantasy mega-franchise, Amazon appears to be banking on its deal for the Lord of the Rings franchise, having cleared a lots of its shows off the slate. The head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke said in a Deadline interview that they aren’t going to try and compete at the volume level with Netflix, adding, “You can’t go big and go irrelevant.” While there is little to go on, they are currently only working on one series – “one big series,” and that while it isn’t remaking the movies, it will involve “it’ll be characters you love.”
Speaking of Salke and Amazon, she also addressed the idea of Amazon Studios picking up the canceled Lucifer. “I know that international, especially the UK group, was really bullish on that show, I haven’t checked in on that today (Thursday), but I heard conversations were ongoing on that yesterday.” So, keep heart, fans. Amazon recently rescued The Expanse after Syfy canceled the show, just as it was heading into the next phase of the story.
As for Amazon’s cross-net rivals, Netflix has given a 10-episode order for Away, about an international crew on a treacherous year-long mission to Mars, from Andrew Hinderaker (Penny Dreadful), Jason Katims (Parenthood) and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). It centers on an American astronaut who leaves behind a husband and daughter to lead the crew in a story of hope and humanity.
The upcoming BBC series His Dark Materials based on the novels of Philip Pullman has some cast…James McAvoy (the X-Men franchise) will play Lord Asriel, the father of the primary character Lyra (Dafne Keen, Logan), who discovers a way to parallel worlds. Clarke Peters (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) plays the master who raises Lyra. Ruth Wilson (The Affair) will play Marisa Coulter, Asrael’s former lover and appears to want Lyra for a mysterious purpose. Earlier this year, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) was announced to play Lee Scoresby, an “aeronaut” who helps Lyra. Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) will direct.
I haven’t mentioned Marvel at all yet, have I? Well, Avengers: Infinity War became just the fourth movie to cross the $2 billion international box office mark, after Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And it is still holding strong at the box office. On Marvel’s small screen, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger became Freeform’s biggest new series in two years, with an L+3 of 1.64 million, which also put it as the most watched telecast on the network in nearly a year.
And finally, we don’t talk much about MTV, but while the network might not be returning to its real roots in music, it may return to its past – a live action version of Aeon Flux, the sci-fi series that started as a series of shorts on the network’s Liquid Television block of trippy animated series. THe show was previously turned into a live action feature starring Charlize Theron as the tightly-clad assassin n 2005, but the movie flopped. Jeff Davis (Teen Wolf) and Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) are set to produce, with Davis writing.
As we reported last week, Amazon was on the hunt for a mega-franchise, and it appears they’ve got one – and paid a handsome price for it.
Reports are in that Amazon has purchased the TV rights to The Lord Of The Rings – or at least some portion of stories from Middle-earth – for what may be close to $250 million just for the rights, and they’ve made a multi-season commitment already. It is expected a worth production could cost $100-150 million per season. The deal also includes a potential spin-off series.
The twist to the story is that it will not simply be a remake of the movies, but instead cover some period before the time of The Lord Of The Rings. It is not certain if this means it will be set in the time between The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, or delve further back into the expansive mythology laid out by J.R.R. Tolkien.
This is interesting…we hear that the Tolkien estate, which manages all the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, is shopping around the rights to a TV series based on Lord Of The Rings to various outlets. Even more interesting is the huge price tag they are placing on it, which is said to be $200-250 million – just for the rights.
Such a project would be hugely ambitious and likely expensive to produce properly, which limits the outlets that could potentially take it on. HBO seems like a natural choice, having already done Game Of Thrones, and with it concluding in its upcoming eighth season that may be looking to fill the void it will leave behind (spinoffs notwithstanding.) Another possibility is Amazon, which is looking for its own GoT franchise and has some ambitious projects already in the works. I’d expect any such production to have to run for quite a few years just in order to break even for the rights purchase, which could make it very hard to pull the trigger.
In addition, they would probably have to lengthen to story significantly in order to stretch it long enough, perhaps by integrating a number of other stories of Middle-earth (as flashback storytelling or something like that), but I understand the rights are very limited as well.
At any rate, I think it would be tough to score big with a production that has to live up to and even surpass three great films in order to be deemed a success.
It’s almost time for the last installment of The Hobbit, and with it an appropriate message goodbye to Middle-earth, sung by Billy Boyd who played Pippin in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy,to be played at the conclusion of The Battle of the Five Armies. Tears will be shed…
Opens December 17th…
The good folks at Air New Zealand love to have fun…even when it comes to safety. And their latest safety video features the movies that were filmed in New Zealand – in this case, The Hobbit, featuring The Shire, dwarves, elves, a wizard or two, and special appearances from several of the film series’ stars…check it out below!
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-ray out November 4th, available for pre-order
The extended edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is available for pre-order now…it is available in Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/Digital and Blu-ray/Digital versions – no U.S. DVD release has been announced yet. Amazon also has an exclusive gift pack featuring a special Weta figurine depicting the river barrel run…that is available in both the Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/Digital and Blu-ray/Digital editions as well!
The extended edition adds 25 minutes of additional footage to the original feature, plus another 9 hours of bonus features!
Check out the extended edition trailer below, plus as an added extra, watch how they created the river scene…
In a post on Facebook, Peter Jackson announced that they will re-title the third film of The Hobbit from There And Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies. The former title was a reference to the name of the collection of Bilbo’s memoirs as collected in the Red Book of Westmarch, the “source” of the stories that J.R.R. Tolkien recounts in his Middle-earth books (the first movie’s title, An Unexpected Journey, is a similar reference.) When it was just two movies as originally planned, the title made more sense, but now with how the story is split, it was appears to make more sense to take on a name referring to a latter section of the book.
Here is the full post.
Here be dragons…