I am fully aware that plenty of “Lord of the Rings” fans, and Peter Jackson fans in general, are going to be deeply unhappy with what I’m about to suggest.
I get it, I really do. Arguing that Peter Jackson shouldn’t make the upcoming “Silmarillion” inspired TV show could be like suggesting that Sir Ian McKellen shouldn’t play Gandalf – at this point, such a statement feels like heresy of the highest order.
There’s no official news either way about whether Jackson will be involved with the “Lord of the Rings” TV show, but Amazon’s executives have suggested that a dialogue may be opened with the acclaimed director of the six existing Middle Earth movies.
Here’s the thing, though: when I read this news, I wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about the idea.
Yes, as ridiculous as it may sound, I’m not on board with Peter Jackson making any more “Lord of the Rings” stuff.
Allow me to turn your attention to Exhibit A: “The Hobbit” movies.
Leaving aside the issue of quality with this trilogy, it’s hard to deny the fact that the source material got pretty much stomped on when the small fairy story book of the same name got blown up into a series of blockbuster movies.
“The Hobbit” movies resemble “The Lord of the Rings” a lot more than they do “The Hobbit” novel itself. I would argue that, production woes aside, Jackson’s vision for these films wasn’t ever particularly true to Tolkien’s first book.
I can’t help but worry that this upcoming TV show could suffer the same fate: that it’ll end up being “The Lord of the Rings” Lite; smaller-budget adventures in a Middle Earth that has never looked as good as it did back in 2003.
This would be fine, but it would hardly be spectacular. Perhaps, instead of getting Jackson back again to oversee yet more stuff set in Middle Earth, we need a new creative team that can make something that feels distinct and unique; which borrows from the existing “Lord of the Rings” live action universe, but allows for a little more originality, and, crucially, storytelling that fits an episodic medium.
There’s also another reason to keep Peter Jackson away from this project.
May I present Exhibit B: Jackson’s IMDB page.
Jackson has some incredible movies to his name, but it’s very clear that his life has been somewhat dominated by Tolkien ever since 2001. The acclaimed director really deserves an opportunity to make more movies in different genres, and with different subject matter.
Behind the scenes of “The Hobbit”, it’s pretty clear that Jackson was strongarmed into directing the trilogy of movies, which ultimately hurt his reputation a lot more than it should have. In another reality, had the films been made by Guillermo del Toro or heck, even Sam Raimi, Jackson would have been able to do different things, and make a bunch of movies to expand his vision.
Now, instead, he’s simply the Tolkien guy. He could be so much more.
We’ll have to wait and see whether the allure of Middle Earth is too strong for Jackson to resist; if he’ll ultimately succumb to the seductive, corrupting power of the One Ring Amazon Prime.
Personally, I hope he stays as far away from the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” TV show as possible.
Quite aside from anything else, I really want him to direct that episode of “Doctor Who” he’s been teasing for over a decade!