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SDCC '22: Dispatches from Middle Earth panel recap

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SDCC ’22: Dispatches from Middle Earth panel recap

‘Everyone is getting a chance to play in Middle Earth.’

In addition to the impending release of The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime, Lord of the Rings fans have ample new projects to shepherd them on their way to Middle Earth coming out in the coming years. The online community around TheOneRing.net, one of the prevalent Tolkien communities online, hosted a panel with Kellie Rice (co-author of Middle-earth from Script to Screen), Clifford Broadway (producer of Ringers), and Justin Sewell (from the TheOneRing) and other well-versed fans of the universe. 

SDCC '22: Dispatches from Middle Earth panel recap

The panel opened with a video with an introduction from the team behind the upcoming animated film The War of the Rohirrim, a feature-length anime film directed by Kenji Kamiyama. Clifford noted that much like the Frank and Bass animated Hobbit film introducing the world of Tolkien to many youngsters, this creative endeavor will do the same. It will be released in theaters, exciting the Tolkien fans in the room looking for another opportunity to socialize with Middle Earth in the cinema. 

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The panel wasn’t just a list of future releases; the room was filled with Tolkien fans of all ages who came to this world via novels, movies, and games. Justin noted that “Everyone is getting a chance to play in Middle Earth.”

A few friendly pot shots were fired at George R. R. Martin and his Game of Thrones series of books, noting that the Tolkien estate is still releasing books years after the author’s death, earning a hearty laugh from the audience. The Fall of Numenor, written by Tolkien, is set to release on November 15th

SDCC '22: Dispatches from Middle Earth panel recap

A few PC video game releases are on the horizon as well. Return to Moria, set in the Fourth Age, has the player rebuild Moria, picking up on Gimli’s tale. Additionally, a Gollum game will release in late 2024. Little info was available, but it will be an original game not based on any existing tales. 

When the topic of the upcoming The Rings of Power series eventually popped up, Kellie Rice noted that she was “very ambivalent about this series from the start” but was able to meet the creative forces behind the series and found them to be passionate and dedicated to the series. Simon Tolkien, a lore expert if there ever was one, is working with the writing team on the upcoming series, a reality that noticeably pleased the audience dressed in their finest elvish attire. Rice also noted that the upcoming series is built almost entirely on the Appendixes, which has caused some fans to worry that the writers are crafting fan-fiction, but the panel was excited that so much effort (and money) has been put towards the series. 

With a fanbase as committed as Tolkien’s, there was a clear interest in the upcoming 8-episode series, even when the panel noted that there had been great discussion on its impending release.  Justin Sewell alluded to the rumor that the 2-episode pilot directed by J.A. Bayona may even get a theatrical release. Still, we will need to wait until tomorrow to hear from Amazon officially. 


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