Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Series To Feature Young Aragorn
Reportedly, creator of the Lord of the Rings films and New Zealand national hero Peter Jackson had wanted to shoehorn Aragorn into his The Hobbit trilogy, in much the same way as those films included Orlando Bloom’s Legolas and for much the same reasons – because film companies like familiar names and faces. These plans were torpedoed fairly definitively by Viggo Mortensen on the basis that Aragorn wasn’t in the book of The Hobbit – and that was coming from a man who loved the character enough, and took the role seriously enough, that he was called “the best swordsman I’ve ever trained” by The Two Towers swordmaster Bob Anderson.
Now, Jackson may finally get his wish for more Aragorn action. Since late 2017, Amazon’s streaming service has been developing a Lord of the Rings spin-off drawing on J.R.R. Tolkien’s less famous, less Jacksoned Middle Earth books. Now, the hardline Tolkien fans of TheOneRing.net have reported that the first season of this new adaptation will focus on the adventures of a young Aragorn.
While the phrase ‘young Aragorn’ would seem to preclude Mortensen reprising the role, this is not necessarily the case. Although there have been no confirmed reports on the casting as yet, during Fellowship of the Ring the character was – due to how aging works in Middle Earth, possibly because of magic – a cool 87 years old. (And Frodo, as played by the perpetually boyish Elijah Wood, was 50.)
Ian McKellen has expressed in interest in reprising his role as Gandalf (for whom slight age differences mean a lot less), and Peter Jackson is reportedly in talks with Amazon about directing – though startingly, he is one of a number of options Amazon is considering, and potentially faces the singular indignity of being bounced out of the franchise he single-handedly brought into the twenty-first century.
It’s been speculated that the series will be based at least partially on the Appendices of Return of the King, which offer a potted history of Middle Earth – ripe fodder for adaptation. Crucially, section v of Appendix A gives the backstory of Aragorn and his elven love interest Arwen, so it’d be weird if she doesn’t pop up too.
As Amazon are developing the series in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publishers HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema (they of the Jackson film trilogies), they will doubtless have access to all the reference materials they might need, possibly including a copy of Appendix A covered in annotations written in Tolkien’s own flowing hand. And, as the initial rights deal came in at a quarter of a billion dollars, they will almost certainly have the moolah required to make it all happen.
Although there is no solid news as yet on a release date – or even the beginning of production – the deal struck by Amazon requires that they start production on the series within two years. As such it could be tentatively pencilled in for late 2019.
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