Vanity Fair (not Variety!) has dropped a bombshell revelation for Middle-earth cinematic fans in its new article about Amazon Prime’s controversial The Rings of Power series:
Composer Howard Shore, who won three Oscars for his work on the Jackson films, is back to score this new Middle-earth adventure.
Shore composed both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies directed by Sir Peter Jackson.
The article says no more, veering instead to material about how the series will use Tolkien’s invented languages, such as Elvish.
Fans may note the article’s remaining “apologetics” tone, seeming to reassure fans concerned about character violations and canon breaks from Tolkien’s Second Age appendices.
Both showrunners explain their battle-princess approach to Galadriel by appealing to her threats of becoming a vengeful queen in The Fellowship of the Ring book and film. They also point to Tolkien illustrator John Howe’s involvement in the production. They note their choices of actors who may appear physically similar to their Lord of the Rings film trilogy counterparts.
It’s worth remembering, if only for legal reasons, that this is not the exact same world. The production design, though similar, is not trying to match the Jackson films. For example, King Elendil’s legendary broken sword, Narsil, which debuted on one of Prime Video’s promotional posters, does not look identical to the one eventually reforged and used by Viggo Mortenson’s Aragorn in The Return of the King.
Time will tell whether fans will accept these deviations from two sets of canon: both Tolkien’s original masterpieces and the Jackson team’s visual adaptations.
That test seems all the more intriguing, now that the previous films’ director has personally lit the beacons to rally support for another Middle-earth film project.
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim releases April 2024
Meanwhile, Variety (not Vanity Fair!) announces on the same day a release date for a wholly other project: an anime film called The War of the Rohirrim.
“The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” — the original anime feature from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation — is set for release on April 12, 2024 from Warner Bros. Pictures, Variety can report exclusively.
Set roughly two centuries before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” “The War of the Rohirrim” will explore the exploits of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan, and the creation of Helm’s Deep, the stronghold featured in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”
Kenji Kamiyama (the TV series “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”) is directing with “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” producer Joseph Chou through his anime studio Sola Entertainment, which has been working on the film since it was announced in June 2021.
Variety gently disclaims that this anime film “is also totally separate from Amazon Prime Video’s Middle-earth series.”
Sir Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, endorsed the film on social media:
Jackson has not specifically commented on Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power series.
Without further clarity, it appears that two different sets of creators are taking different approaches to the same licensed fantasy franchise.