When rumours surfaced that on-demand service Amazon Prime was considering reviving classic JRR Tolkien series The Lord of the Rings for a Game Of Thrones-style TV show, the cries of outrage and pain from fans would have put a Nazgûl to shame.
“Why bring back a franchise that has received its definitive version in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning film franchise?” they growled, “especially when there are SO MANY great books (even by Tolkien himself) still waiting for the screen treatment?”
So no, it wasn’t exactly the positive reaction Amazon would have been hoping for. But now one figure has emerged who DOES actually think the project could be a good idea, someone whose opinions carry some weight in the realm of actually making a Lord of the Rings adaptation – actor Sean Astin, probably best known for his role as noble hobbit Samwise Gamgee in Jackson’s Middle-Earth trilogy (if we imagine, happily, that the Hobbit trilogy never happened).
“I saw that the other day, and I thought that was intriguing,” Astin told EW.
“I’ve been saying for 15 years that maybe like 12 years after Lord of the Rings came out, that it would get remade. And people always said, ‘Oh no, it’ll never get remade! It’s a classic! They could never top it!’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’ll get remade. It’s a massive story! The characters are so beloved.’”
And Astin (currently starring as new fan-favourite Bob Newby in Stranger Things 2) was clear that this positivity WASN’T just him angling for a role in the new adaptation…
“I’m carrying the Samwise banner for the Peter Jackson version of Lord of the Rings,” Astin said.
“When I saw the Amazon thing, that didn’t even occur to me. I just sort of thought, ‘What would it be like to see the next Sam there?’ I think it’s an intriguing idea [but] the devil’s in the details. How would they do it? How? Who?
“The challenge would be, could they find some team to do it that they could let do their thing, or are they going to squat on it? It’s hard to make a TV series like this by committee.”
Still, Astin did have one pointer for the team behind the new series, suggesting an area of Middle-Earth that he thought could be greater explored.
“The Mines of Moria are referred to a lot in Lord of the Rings,” he said.
“And I guess in the Hobbit trilogy, you spent a little time with them, but the culture of the dwarves in the mines… I would love to see like five hours of that.”
And who knows? Maybe a decade or two from now there’ll be enough versions of Lord of the Rings that fans can battle over which is their favourite, finally proving true that ancient prophecy found etched inside one of JRR Tolkien’s old mugs in 1977:
One adaptation to rule them all, one adaptation to find them. One adaptation to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
(But seriously guys, please just do the Silmarillion or something. This is getting silly)
Stranger Things 2 is streaming on Netflix now