Many news outlets have more info on the joyous news of two Peter Jackson/Fran Walsh-led Hobbity movies, including the New York Times. It seems that Jackson is busy filming LOVELY BONES and then TINTIN (YAY!) for the next three years or so, but he and Walsh will have complete creative control over the movies. But then there is the matter of the Hobbit Sequel — what the HELL is that all about????
The untitled sequel is described as bridging the 60-year gap between the end of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Hobbit” and the beginning of the “Rings” trilogy.
Okay, now we are Tolkien scholars of some 30+ years standing, and even we can’t quite figure what this is about. The drowning of Frodo’s parents? Aragorn’s deeds in Arnor? Balin’s failure in Moria? The torturing of Arwen’s mom by the orcs? The life of Gollum?
Here’s the actual timeline of these 60 years from the Appendices in Volume III. All years are the Third Age of Middle Earth.
2942 Bilbo returns to the Shire with the Ring. Sauron returns in secret to Mordor.
2944 Bard rebuilds Dale and becomes King. Gollum leaves the Mountains and begins his search for the ‘thief of the Ring.
2948 Théoden son of Thengel. King of Rohan. born. 2949 Gandalf and Balin visit Bilbo in the Shire.
2950 Finduilas, daughter of Adrahil of Dol Amroth, born.
2951 Sauron declares himself openly and gathers power in Mordor. He begins the rebuilding of Barad-dûr. Gollum turns towards Mordor. Sauron sends three of the Nazgûl to reoccupy Dol Guldur. Elrond reveals to ‘Estel’ his true name and ancestry, and delivers to him the shards of Narsil. Arwen, newly returned from Lórien, meets Aragorn in the woods of Imladris. Aragorn goes out into the Wild.
2953 Last meeting of the White Council. They debate the Rings. Saruman feigns that he has discovered that the One Ring has passed down Anduin to the Sea. Saruman withdraws to Isengard, which he takes as his own, and fortifies it Being jealous and afraid of Gandalf he sets spies to watch all his movements; and notes his interest in the Shire. He soon begins to keep agents in Bree and the Southfarthing.
2954 Mount Doom bursts into flame again. The last inhabitants of Ithilien flee over Anduin.
2956 Aragorn meets Gandalf and their friendship begins.
2957-80 Aragorn undertakes his great journeys and errantries. As Thorongil he serves in disguise both Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II of Gondor.
2968 Birth of Frodo.
2976 Denethor weds Finduilas of Dol Amroth.
2977 Bain son of Bard becomes King of Dale.
2978 Birth of Boromir son of Denethor II.
2980 Aragorn enters Lórien and there meets again Arwen Undómiel. Aragorn gives her the ring of Barahir. and they plight their troth upon the hill of Cerin Amroth. About this time Gollum reaches the confines of Mordor and becomes acquainted with Shelob. Théoden becomes King of Rohan.
2983 Faramir son of Denethor born. Birth of Samwise.
2984 Death of Ecthelion II. Denethor II becomes Steward of Gondor.
2988 Finduilas dies young.
2989 Balin leaves Erebor and enters Moria.
2991 Éomer Éomund’s son born in Rohan.
2994 Balin perishes, and the dwarf-colony is destroyed.
2995 Éowyn sister of Éomer born.
c. 3000 The shadow of Mordor lengthens. Saruman dares to use the palantír of Orthanc, but becomes ensnared by Sauron, who has the Ithil Stone. He becomes a traitor to the Council. His spies report that the Shire is being closely guarded by the Rangers.
3001 Bilbo’s farewell feast Gandalf suspects his ring to be the One Ring. The guard on the Shire is doubled. Gandalf seeks for news of Gollum and calls on the help of Aragorn.
While the events of 2956 would make a fine buddy pic (HE’s a Maiar from the Undying West! HE’S a weather beaten Ranger from the North. but they’re PARTNERS in fighting the Witch King of Angmar!) and dramatic kernels could surely be mined for piquant and vibrant cinematic tableaux…well, this sounds TOO MUCH LIKE FAN FIC TO US. Like the guys who made the role playing game who claimed that one of the Nine Ring Wraiths was a woman named Adûnaphel. We’d rather see that movie about Fingon rescuing Maedhros, honest injun. How about a movie about FEANOR? Feanor and Galadriel sparring in Tol Eressëa. it could be like Dangerous Liaisons except wth Elves.
We’re taking a wait and see attitude. If Jackson can find a role for Clive Owen, Gerard Butler, Karl Urban or Bruce Campbell, however, all will be forgiven.
UPDATE: Fellow Tolkein scholar Mariah Huehner has her own thoughts here.