The new Lord of the Rings movies need to learn from Star Wars sequels by sticking to one unified creative vision.
Get out your dogeared copy of The Silmarillion and call the eagles; new Lord of the Rings movies are coming! According to CBR, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have released a joint statement announcing they plan to make new films in the Lord of the Rings franchise. Hopefully, the two studios can take a page from Disney on how to make sequels to a beloved trilogy … and then crinkle it up, light it on fire, and spit on the ashes.
The Lord of the Rings films have already followed the trajectory of the Star Wars franchise closer than one would think, starting with the original trilogy of films released by Peter Jackson in the early 2000s. Jackson released a beloved trio of movies that relied on mostly practical effects to transport viewers to another world mirroring the original Star Wars trilogy.
Just like the OG Star Wars movies, the third Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King is the best one.
But then Peter Jackson followed George Lucas off the path of glory and into a barren field of green screen muck with a trilogy of lackluster prequels. In literary terms, it would be wrong to call The Hobbit a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, but as films, that’s exactly what the Hobbit trilogy is. Three bloated, boring movies where all the whimsical practical effects and sets from the original movies were replaced with bad CGI.
Just like the Star Wars prequels.
With this announcement, Warner Bros. and New Line have a chance to break with Star Wars and learn from Disney’s sequel mistakes. First and foremost, whether the new Lord of the Rings movies are sequels, side-quels, or even unrelated stories set in corners of Middle Earth that we haven’t seen, they need to have a plan. Ultimately, all the films would share the same director, but the original Star Wars films are proof that three different directors can produce three stellar films that fit together perfectly as long as there is a plan and someone to make sure that the directors stick to that plan.
Ironically, Disney did this perfectly with the MCU, letting different directors put their stamp on movies while Kevin Feige made sure they were all moving in the right direction. The main thing the Star Wars sequels were lacking was a Lucas or Feige to keep everyone on the same track. Peter Jackson‘s level of involvement in the new movies isn’t known at this time, meaning Warner will most likely have to find someone else to oversee their future Lord of the Rings movies.
Another way the new Lord of the Rings films can make sure they don’t repeat Disney’s mistakes is to refrain from bringing Sauron back as the big bad. One of J.J. Abrams’s worst received and frankly baffling decisions was to have Palpalatine return for The Rise of Skywalker after the character “died” in Return of the Jedi almost 40 years prior. The fact that Sheev, “I can’t believe that’s his first name,” Palpatine first returned in a Fortnite event is a whole other conversation.
It would also be a good idea not just to remake Fellowship of the Ring the way The Force Awakens did with A New Hope. Also, if you’re reading this Warner Bros., don’t bring back Frodo as a crusty old hermit who abandoned his friends and now drinks milk from some weird creature’s teat like Luke in The Last Jedi.
Whatever direction the new Lord of the Rings movies take, as long as they keep fan reaction to the Star Wars sequel trilogy in mind, they should be okay. Just keep J.J. Abrams far away from them.