(Left) Peter Jackson, multiple Academy Award winner for his work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," poses with one of his Oscars in the press room during the 76th Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 29, 2004. Credit/Provider: HO. Copyright: AMPAS. (Right) Andy Serkis as Gollum in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'. Photo: New Line Cinema.

(Left) Peter Jackson, multiple Academy Award winner for his work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," poses with one of his Oscars in the press room during the 76th Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 29, 2004. Credit/Provider: HO. Copyright: AMPAS. (Right) Andy Serkis as Gollum in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'. Photo: New Line Cinema.

Preview:

  • Peter Jackson is aboard to produce two new ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies.
  • Andy Serkis will direct the first, ‘The Hunt for Gollum’.
  • Warner Bros. made the announcement, with a release planned for 2026.

We’ve known for some time that Warner Bros. and boss David Zaslav have been planning to dive into the studio’s back catalogue to rustle up new shows and movies based on known titles. A new series (at least one) based on ‘Harry Potter’ is also in the planning stages, and there are more moves afoot on the fantasy front. Big ones.

Yes, while the company already has one ‘Lord of the Rings’-based movie headed to screens later this year (animated conflict film ‘The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’), Zaslav has now announced two live-action efforts with some hefty names attached.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

"Fate has chosen him. A fellowship will protect him . Evil will hunt them.."
84
PG-132 hr 59 minDec 19th, 2001
Showtimes & Tickets

Who is making the new ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies?

Peter Jackson accepts the Academy Award for Best Picture for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" during the 76th Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 29, 2004.

Peter Jackson accepts the Academy Award for Best Picture for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" during the 76th Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 29, 2004. Credit/Provider: HO. Copyright: AMPAS.

Chief among the new team is one Peter Jackson –– you know, the man who brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories of Hobbits, Elves and other creatures to pop cultural behemoth status with his original trilogy of movies and then the ‘Hobbit’ adaptations.

While it appears that Jackson is not currently planning to direct either film, he will be deeply involved in the movies’ development.

Working alongside him, as they have since the beginning, are collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who will write the scripts for the films.

And another key player in the ‘LOTR’ franchise, Andy Serkis –– who regularly squeezed into performance capture suits to play slinky Ring-coveter Gollum, is also back, and he’s aboard to direct the first confirmed movie, which is perhaps fittingly (working) titled ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum’.

Serkis will also be getting back into his performance capture rig to star as the titular creature.

What’s the story of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum’?

(L to R) Sean Austin, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'.

(L to R) Sean Austin, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'. Photo: New Line Cinema.

Warner Bros. wouldn’t be drawn on specifics just yet, but let’s be honest… It kind of speaks for itself. And there is at least one section of Tolkien’s work that focuses on just such a search (Aragorn is the unlucky person tasked with tracking down the riddle-spinner).

What form exactly the new story takes remains to be seen, but it has already been adapted into a fan film and a card game.

As for the other movie? That’s even more of a mystery for now, but the studio has said it’ll dig into unexplored stories.

Related Article: Andy Serkis and 'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Talk 'Luther: The Fallen Sun'

New ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies: The Creatives Speak

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Academy Award winners for Best Picture for their work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," pose in the press room during the 76th Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 29, 2004.

(L to R) Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Academy Award winners for Best Picture for their work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," pose in the press room during the 76th Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 29, 2004. Credit/Provider: HO. Copyright: AMPAS.

Here’s Jackson, Walsh and Boyes’ statement on their return:

“It is an honor and a privilege to travel back to Middle-earth with our good friend and collaborator, Andy Serkis, who has unfinished business with that stinker — Gollum. As life-long fans of Professor Tolkien’s vast mythology, we are proud to be working with Mike De Luca, Pam Abdy and the entire team at Warner Bros. on another epic adventure!”

And here’s Serkis:

“Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle-earth Peter, Fran and Philippa. With Mike and Pam, and the Warner Bros team on the quest as well, alongside WETA and our film making family in New Zealand, it’s just all too delicious… .”

Finally, this is the statement from Warner Bros. film bosses Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy:

“For over two-decades, moviegoers have embraced the Lord of the Rings film trilogy because of the undeniable devotion Peter, Fran and Philippa have shown towards protecting the legacy of Tolkien’s works, and to ensure audiences could experience the incredible world he created in a way that honors his literary vision. We are honored they have agreed be our partners on these two new films. With Andy coming aboard to direct ‘Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum’ (working title), we continue an important commitment to excellence that is a true hallmark of how we all want to venture ahead and further contribute to the Lord of the Rings cinematic history.”

When will the new ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies be in theaters?

The plan for at least one of the new movies is for it to be in theaters by 2026.

What does this mean for Amazon’s future ‘Lord of the Rings’ plans?

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) in Prime Video's 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.'

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) in Prime Video's 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.' Photo: Courtesy of Prime Video. Copyright: Amazon Studios.

As of right now, nothing: the two companies have different deals with the rights holders, Embracer Group AB. While Warner Bros. is focusing on movies (with ‘The War of the Rohirrim’ landing on December 13th), Amazon’s Prime Video service seems more interested on building out its TV universe, following the successful launch of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ in 2022. A second season has been filming and is due to land this year (though no official date has been provided yet).

But the new announcement is certainly giant-sized news for fans and a fair win for Warner Bros., since Jackson and the team are the people most closely associated with the movies’ success and the overall dominance of Middle-earth in the early 2000s. What the Tolkien family actually thinks is probably not so positive, but having sold the rights, they have little control these days over what the giant corporations do with the stories included in the different deals.

Now we just wait and see what happens with the new Warners movies. But one thing is clear: unlike the Elven folk, the adaptations of Professor Tolkien’s work are not planning to sail off to Valinor any time soon.

Director Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

Director Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

Other ‘The Lord of the Rings' Movies and TV Shows:

Buy 'The Lord of the Rings' Movies On Amazon