Gee that Lord of the Rings: Gollum game sucked didn't it, so how about a Gollum movie?

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was both a blessing and a curse for J.R.R. Tolkien's novels. A blessing in that they arguably remain the greatest-ever adaptation of a fantasy world into cinema, faithfully reimagining the books' beats and characters with a grandeur yet to be surpassed. And the curse was their success, instantly canonising Jackson's vision as the starting point for a new extended universe spinning out from the books.

Not that this is anything particularly new—the British satirical magazine Private Eye has a running joke of referring to The Silmarillion, a posthumously published collection of Tolkien's Middle-earth tales, as "The Sellamillion". The Lord of the Rings has always been big business. But with franchises like Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter showcasing the extraordinary amounts that can be wrung out of extended universes, and the rights for everything outside of the books recently acquired by Middle-earth Enterprises (an Embracer subsidiary) in 2022, we are entering a new era of Hobbit saturation.

If I seem glum about this it's only because, with the best will in the world, nothing since Jackson's trilogy has come close to that level—even Jackson's adaptation of the Hobbit, which should've been a slam-dunk prequel, ended up an overlong and drearily serious trilogy. Amazon's Rings of Power was just middle-of-the-road prestige TV. Then we get to the games and, the shining light of Lord of the Rings Online aside, the most recent example is the mystifying The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, which maybe wasn't as terrible as some said but was enough to close its developer Daedelic.

Well buckle up, because Warner Bros. has decided that what this shows is people want more Gollum. The company has announced a new clutch of live action movies based on the Lord of the Rings, with the first focusing on the fish-gobbling ring-fancier (thanks, Variety). During an earnings call Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will act as producers on the movie and "will be involved every step of the way."

The working title for the film is The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum, and it will be directed by and star Andy Serkis as Gollum. The film's script is by Walsh, Boyens, Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou and will apparently "explore storylines yet to be told."

A statement from Jackson, Walsh and Boyens reads: “"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! As life long fans of Professor Tolkien’s vast mythology, we are proud to be working with Mike De Luca, Pam Abdy and the entire team at Warner Bros. on another epic adventure!"

"Yesssss, Precious," said Serkis, before going on to talk about how wonderful everyone involved in the film is, ending "it’s just all too delicious…"

Well: this is what happens when you make three fantastic films that gross roughly $3 billion dollars. It's surprising to see Jackson continue his association with the Lord of the Rings, only inasmuch as it's all been diminishing returns since the trilogy, and I somehow suspect a Gollum chase movie isn't going to buck that trend.

This is one of multiple Lord of the Rings projects to come from Warner Bros., with development handled by its New Line Cinema label. The first fruits of this will be the animated movie The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, directed by Kenji Kamiyama and due in December. The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum is due sometime in 2026.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."