Are we in for a return to Middle-earth?
It’s been a few years since the final Hobbit movie, and naturally, attention has turned to the Silmarillion. Will the last of Tolkien’s great trilogy of masterpieces (because trilogies are a thing in Middle-earth?) make its way onto the big screen?
Rumors abound, but…
I’m a passionate Lord of the Rings fan and I understand the hesitation to leave Middle-earth for good after spending so much time immersed in the unique setting Peter Jackson built for the movies. Who wouldn’t want to go back and experience another adventure?
Still, is it really the best decision?
The Silmarillion Movie…Um, Bad Idea
1. Since it’s the history of Middle-earth, it would be hard to make a movie and not a documentary.
I can’t think of any feasible way to depict the epic scope of the Silmarillion in a single movie or even a trilogy of movies. The book covers hundreds of years of Middle-earth history and ranges across continents that don’t even exist in the Middle-earth we’ve become familiar with.
Maybe a trilogy of trilogies?
2. It’s too huge and expansive to turn into a movie.
Even though the book itself is roughly a third of the length of LotR, it has a much wider scope. Covering all that material would be a logistical and financial nightmare.
3. It only appeals to a niche audience.
Among Tolkien’s works, the Silmarillion is the least popular. It’s for the small percentage of rabid fans. I’ve read it, and I honestly found it dry and tedious in places, with only a few interesting sections. There aren’t enough die-hard Tolkien junkies who would watch the movie to justify the production costs.
4. After LOTR and the Hobbit, it would be a letdown.
The Hobbit trilogy had its flaws (too numerous to elaborate on) and it wasn’t nearly as awesome as Lord of the Rings, but I still feel it ended on a satisfying note—thank you Billy Boyd. Anything after that would be a letdown.
We’ve parted from Middle-earth on the right foot. No need to ruin that by bringing out a subpar movie that will leave us with a bitter feel in our loyal geek hearts.
**some may wish to debate whether The Hobbit left said bitterness**
5. There’s not a single storyline to follow.
Going back to my first point, the Silmarillion isn’t an ordinary book with a central plot as much as it is a compilation of individual stories with the goal of chronicling the major events in Middle-earth’s history. It reads more like a textbook than a story.
Lacking that cohesion, it wouldn’t translate well into a movie.
The only way to solve the problem would be to tinker with the narrative, changing it enough to remove the fragmented feel. *cough* Beware angering loyal fans. *cough*
6. Building off the previous point, it would lack a main character to engage with.
In the Silmarillion, the different races are more the emphasis rather than single characters.
Sure the story contains some cool characters. Beren and Luthien top the list, but their story is only a small slice of the timeline. There aren’t any central characters like in the Hobbit and LotR. Without that personal connection, it’s hard to become absorbed in a story.
7. The length of time and the breadth of the setting covered is too large.
It would give us only a passing glimpse, an airplane aerial view rather than down in the environment in real, relatable ways, as was the case in LotR and the Hobbit.
Material for a documentary or TV series or some other side project. Perhaps (though I’d still have my reservations). But as a movie, it’s too big to wrangle.
Do you want to see a Silmarillion movie? Do you think we’ll ever have another movie based in Middle-earth?
*This post appeared in original form in June 2015 on zacharytotah.com