The Hunt for Gollum: Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis to work on new Lord of the Rings film

The Hunt for Gollum: Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis to work on new Lord of the Rings film

Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis are working on a new Lord of the Rings film due to release in 2026, it has been announced.

In a statement, Warner Bros said that the first of a new set of Lord of the Rings films, The Hunt for Gollum, will be directed by and star Serkis, and be produced by Jackson.

David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros Discovery, had earlier told a conference call with investors that the film is “now in the early stages of script development” and that Jackson, along with writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, “will be involved every step of the way”. The film, he said, would “explore storylines yet to be told”.

Zaslav added: “Lord of the Rings is one of the most successful and revered franchises in history and presents a significant opportunity for theatrical business.”

In the statement, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens said: “It is an honour and a privilege to travel back to Middle-earth with our good friend and collaborator, Andy Serkis, who has unfinished business with that stinker – Gollum!”

Serkis added: “Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle-earth, Peter, Fran and Philippa … it’s just all too delicious …”

Warner Bros’ plans to return to Lord of the Rings emerged in February 2023, when Zaslav revealed the studio had made an agreement for “multiple” films based on JRR Tolkien’s original books with Embracer Group, the Swedish gaming company that owns most Tolkien rights after purchasing holding company Middle-earth Enterprises in 2022.

At the time Jackson, Walsh and Boyens indicated their willingness to get involved, saying: “We look forward to speaking with [Warner Bros] further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward.”

The arrangement is a separate enterprise from Rings of Power, the Amazon-produced prequel to Lord of the Rings that debuted in August 2022, as Middle-earth Enterprises did not hold rights to TV series adaptations of more than eight episodes, and Amazon secured rights from the Tolkien estate directly.

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Warner Bros is also producing The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, an animated prequel to the trilogy, directed by Kenji Kamiyama and featuring the voices of Brian Cox and Miranda Otto, which is due for release in December 2024.

Peter Jackson’s live action trilogy was released between 2001 and 2003, earning more than $2.9bn worldwide and winning 17 Academy Awards, including best picture for final instalment The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.