'The Lord of the Rings' Franchise Is Returning to the Big Screen with a Brand-New Series of Movies

They're taking the hobbits back to cinemas, with multiple new films in the works based on JRR Tolkien's book series.
Sarah Ward
Published on February 24, 2023

Star Wars did it. Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones, too. No blockbuster movie franchise stays away from cinemas for too long these days, so of course The Lord of the Rings is being taken back to the big screen — even though it has already spawned one huge hit trilogy, then followed it up with another.

Expect more hobbits, elves and dwarves in more places — in multiple movies, in fact — given that The Lord of the Rings is also doing big things on the small screen of late. In 2022, the long-awaited The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power hit streaming, bringing Middle-earth to Prime Video across a stunning-looking series. Season two is in the works as well, with the show stepping back thousands of years into the JRR Tolkien-created fantasy realm's past.

The new Lord of the Rings flicks are being made by Warner Bros Discovery, so it's unlikely that they'll tie into the TV show — but exactly what they'll cover, be it new tales or linking in with the OG three LoTR movies or The Hobbit films, is yet to be revealed. So far, Warner Bros has just advised that more features are on their way, announcing the news as part of the company's latest investor earnings call.

Making more LoTR films involves coming to an agreement with Swedish gaming and media company Embracer Group, which owns the intellectual property rights to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other Middle-earth-related literary works. As part of the new movie arrangement, the upcoming flicks will be produced by Warner Bros-owned production company New Line Cinema, which was behind the first two trios of hobbit-filled features.

"Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we're thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of JRR Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways," said Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode — which is part of Embracer — in a statement.

"We understand how cherished these works are and, working together with our partners at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, we plan to honour the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values."

No further details, including regarding plots, characters, casting, directors or timing — including whether Oscar-winner Peter Jackson will be involved after helming all six past New Line features — has been announced as yet. But Warner Bros Pictures Group Co-Chairs and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy added that "for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by JRR Tolkien remains largely unexplored on film."

"The opportunity to invite fans deeper into the cinematic world of Middle-earth is an honour," the pair continued.

The first LoTR trilogy hit the big screen two decades ago, with The Fellowship of the Ring arriving in 2001, The Two Towers in 2002 and The Return of the King in 2003. They were followed by the three Hobbit movies a decade later, An Unexpected Journey debuting in 2012, The Desolation of Smaug in 2013 and The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014.

Before the latest Lord of the Rings films come to a fruition, an anime will get there first. The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is currently in production, and will spin a story set 183 years before the events of LoTR, focusing on the fate of the House of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan. Expect it in cinemas in April 2024.

Obviously there's no trailer for the just-announced flicks as yet, but here are the trailers for The Fellowship of the Ring,The Two Towers and The Return of the King in the interim:

The new Lord of the Rings movies don't yet have a release date — we'll update you with more information when it's announced.

Published on February 24, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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