The question of whether a “Silmarillion” movie should be made comes up here quite often, and it did again this morning, when a post from The Hobbit Movie feed landed in my inbox with that exact question. Note that they’re not affiliated with New Line Cinema or the Tolkien estate. Just fun-loving hobbit fans like us.
So let’s think about this. I’d love to see a Silmarillion movie made, but it would have to be made in at least two — better yet, three — movies. The book is just too dense and complex to try and do in one movie.
However, J.R.R. Tolkien never finished the book, so the volume sitting on your shelf or down at the local bookstore is probably one that was fleshed out by his son Christopher Tolkien and others, notably fantasy writer Guy Gavriel Kay, based upon JRR Tolkien’s notes.
Also, a note over at TheOneRing.net indicates that the option to make a Silmarillion movie is currently closed, because Christopher Tolkien, the work’s literary executor, has refused to consider any further licensing of his father’s work for cinematic purposes. Possibly because he didn’t like Jackson’s re-telling of “The Hobbit.”
This puts a lot of things up in the air. Like, for example, whether the next two Hobbit movies can even reference anything in “The Silmarillion.” And whether even things like Gandalf’s scripted comment about the names of the two blue wizards are off-limits (he said the names were lost to him, but Tolkien provided the answers in “Unfinished Tales” — Alatar and Pallando).
All of this could put a serious crimp in the next two Hobbit movies, as well as, of course, any future films based on Tolkien’s work. Not just “The Silmarillion,” but also books like “Unfinished Tales” and “The Quest for Erebor,” all of which would make lovely films.
Apparently, the Tolkien family isn’t so much concerned with Peter Jackson, but rather, the commercialization of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, in general. Christopher Tolkien is reported by LeMonde as saying:
“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time. The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”
Ok, well for one thing, the beauty and seriousness of the work, in my view, was transferred beautifully to the screen for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. These cinematic works aren’t “nothing,” as evidenced by the four Oscars, 79 other wins and 90 nominations for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” alone.
Anyway, I guess there’s not much to be said, other than I hope the Tolkien family finds a way to work with future filmmakers, whether it be Peter Jackson or someone else, to bring these stories to the big screen.