Lord of the Rings Characters That Should Totally Get Their Own Movies
Warner Bros. Discovery is determined to supersize its Lord of the Rings franchise, so which characters should get the big spinoffs?
Making an interconnected shared universe of spinoff movies from Lord of the Rings is a terrible idea. (So yes, we were joking in the headline. Sorry!) Barely 10 years after Disney supersized Star Wars—unleashing the current glut of movies and shows so generally mediocre that even Liam Neeson, star of The Phantom Menace, seems wizened when he notes Disney has “taken away the mystery and the magic of the series”—it seems another beloved fantasy trilogy from decades ago is about to get oversaturated by a studio determined to capitalize on every last ounce of popular IP from when you were young.
Warner Bros. Discovery is now actively developing spinoff movies from Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy that concluded nearly 20 years ago.
This attempt to mine the franchise’s nostalgic appeal has already begun thanks to Amazon’s divisive The Rings of Power television series. However, that show is based merely on some of Tolkien’s literary works and is restricted as to what characters it can use. It’s also restricted from directly connecting to the movies Jackson made, including the less beloved The Hobbit trilogy from the early 2010s.
Not Warner Bros. or New Line Cinema though, baby! In a deal between Embracer Group and New Line Cinema that was announced late Thursday, it became official that we’re about to witness a massive expansion of LOTR content.
“For all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien remains largely unexplored on film,” WB heads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy said in a statement. “The opportunity to invite fans deeper into the cinematic world of Middle-earth is an honor, and we are excited to partner with Middle-earth Enterprises and Embracer on this adventure.”
So like death and taxes, the industrialized content farming of Lord of the Rings is happening! But which characters from Tolkien and Jackson’s most beloved trilogy should be
exploited adapted first for a larger cinematic story? Here are some ideas!
The thought of making an Aragorn movie was first floated by Embracer (along with films about Gandalf, Gollum, Eowyn, and Galadriel) when the company announced that it had acquired Middle-earth Enterprises last year. But why stop at just one movie? The way we reckon it, there should be a whole trilogy of Aragorn movies explaining the origins of this descendant of Isildur and the Numenoreans!
Technically, Aragorn is 87 years old when we meet him in The Fellowship of the Ring (good genes!). So think about all the backstory there is left to tell? There could be a scene where we learn exactly why someone named this Ranger from the North “Strider.” Perhaps he stubbed his toe and had a funny gait while running away from some Orcs in the snows of the Misty Mountains? Or perhaps there’s a whole film’s worth of content to create about Aragorn meeting and falling in love with Arwen, with plenty of dicey chase scenes where we’re supposed to wonder if they’ll survive (spoiler: they will).
Plus, I bet you want to know where Aragorn got that cloak. Someone has got to explain how he got that cloak…
A slightly more interesting concept for a film would be less about the origins of a character than what happens afterward. For instance, Arwen Undómiel, the Evenstar. As a formerly eternal elf who gives up immortality to be with Aragorn, we didn’t get to know a lot about her during the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, even with her beefed up role in Fellowship of the Ring. So what is it like to throw away eternity for love?
On second thought that would be a bit of a downer. While we know from Tolkien that Arwen dies one year after Aragorn, wandering alone in the woods of Lórien… what if she didn’t? In the films, it’s a bit hazy how the whole “give up immortality” works, and in The Two Towers her father Elrond describes to Arwen a possible future of living forever in mourning after the loss of her human husband. But what if that’s just the beginning of her next tale? What if we could have… How Arwen Got Her Groove Back?! There’s certainly a movie franchise, or at least a limited series on HBO Max, in accounting for all the adventures Arwen went on when she gets rid of the old ball and chain and starts summoning river horses again. Think about it!
You’ve seen Elrond old and bitter (Lord of the Rings), as well as youthful and full of promise (The Rings of Power). But what about the centuries between the War of the Last Alliance, which TROP is building to, and the War of the Ring (LOTR)? What about the years where Elrond assesses how Isildur screwed him over so badly? Folks, we give you… Elrond: The Awkward Middle Years.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy famously ends with Samwise Gamgee, the one-time valet and lifelong best friend to Mr. Frodo, returning to the Shire and telling his family, “I’m home.” But what if the next trilogy begins with Mr. Frodo coming back from the Undying Lands seconds later to say, “Sam, Sam, we have to destroy it!” Destroy what you might ask? Wasn’t the One Ring to Rule Them All was obliterated??? But here’s the last line of the trailer: “But Sam… there is another.”
Don’t worry if this sounds like just a repeat of what came last time, there can be a character onscreen to explain in the movie that this new ring is a little bigger than the one in the classic movies (so totally different!), and now Sam as the last, last Ring-Bearer must drag the thing back to Mt. Doom where Sauron’s forces are gathering. And if you’re asking how that works, don’t look at us. Some character can just drop a line of dialogue like, “Somehow, Sauron returned.” Fixed.
The jury is still out on whether The Rings of Power‘s Stranger is actually Gandalf or another Istar. Can Amazon legally even use the character? Technically, the wizard is mentioned in the Appendices at the end of the Lord of the Rings, which should make him fair game for the Amazon series. And could we blame them if they did use the legendary character? What media conglomerate could really resist bringing the Young Gandalf story to the screen?
We meet a fully formed wizard in Tolkien’s trilogy and Jackson’s six movies, a mentor to little Hobbits who are in way over their heads. But what about Olórin’s awkward teen years coming to terms with his own powers and purpose? The movie writes itself. Whether it’s a film actually worth watching has never stopped anyone from making these things before.
But if The Rings of Power already called dibs on Gandalf’s origins, there’s always the tale of what the grey wizard got up to between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, a story so worthwhile Tolkien never bothered to write it.
Before he got his greedy hands on the One Ring, Gollum was an early Hobbit named Smeagol. What was this Stoor’s life like in the Vales of Anduin before he decided to strangle Deagol for the precious? Was life just all about fishing back in the day or did he get up to some fun Hobbit adventures we don’t know about? Most importantly, could Andy Serkis use another dump truck full of money? Another house?
Maybe we’re being too unoriginal with all these Young [Insert Character Here] suggestions, but we’re not the ones who decided these characters needed solo films in the first place. That said, if you’re over origin stories, Gollum lived for almost 600 years, a nice little chunk of the Third Age, even if most of those years were spent in a cave or tumbling into Mount Doom. Perhaps this is a slice of life tale: what’s a day in Gollum’s metaphorical shoes like in the Misty Mountains?
Too boring? Fine, let’s just do the Lord of the Rings trilogy again but from Gollum’s point of view! The legacy sequel you didn’t know you wanted.
Legolas and Gimli
If we really had no other choice, would we really turn our noses up at a Legolas and Gimli buddy cop movie? Picture it: it’s the Fourth Age and what remains of Sauron’s Orc forces have risen up to terrorize Middle-earth once again. Aragorn is busy being High King of Gondor and Arnor, so there are only two other heroes the Free People can turn to in this time of need.
Action-packed fights in Fangorn and the Misty Mountains, daring stunts featuring Gimli being tossed all over the place, some improbable trick shots from Legolas’ bow, and maybe a trip back to Moria or Helm’s Deep later and you have yourself a kick ass sequel to the original trilogy. And there’s room for an even darker follow up after that — Legolas vs. Gimli: Civil War.
Or, you know, WB could just do the origin stories…
Okay, not gonna lie. We’d be curious about this one. Eowyn rules, she sent the dreaded Witch-king of Angmar packing, and she’s a fierce warrior just as skilled with a sword and on a horse as the riders of the Rohirrim. She constantly puts it all on the line to protect her beloved Rohan and has long been an inspiration for fantasy fans. But since she eventually chose to settle down with Faramir in Ithilien after the War of the Ring, there’s not much left to tell of her story, especially since she also spent her youth taking care of her possessed uncle, King Theoden.
Maybe it’s for the best that Eowyn’s lack of material will spare her from a spinoff, but if Warner Bros. won’t budge on franchising all of these characters, perhaps an older Eowyn comes out of retirement for one last ride in a classic Lone Wolf and Cub setup. The secret son we never knew Boromir had is in trouble and only Eowyn can save him. If Pedro Pascal is the internet’s daddy, perhaps it’s time to christen Miranda Otto as its mommy.
Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo! Tolkien fans still mad that Jackson completely skipped over your favorite supernatural being for his movie trilogy, your time has finally come. The journey has been long, the online petitions have been many, but what better way for WB to reignite its Lord of the Rings film franchise than with a spinoff adventure — an interquel even! — that follows Frodo and company’s time with old Tommy boy? Maybe it’s one movie, or hell, stretch a small section of Fellowship into a whole new trilogy, with bonus content showing what Tom got up to while the rest of Middle-earth burned.
Or what about we crack open the Lord of the Rings MULTIVERSE and explore the alternate universe where the Council of Elrond actually did hand the One Ring over to Tom to destroy? Would he really get bored and toss it midway through the quest? We’d love to watch him not know (or care) he’s in Lord of the Rings for two hours and a half.
Obvious backup plan — Tom Bombadil: The Musical.
Which Lord of the Rings movies do you want to watch next? Let us know in the comments!