According to The Verge, Disney is planning to release a new Star Wars film every summer for five years. This schedule will begin with Episode VII in 2015, VIII in 2017, and IX in 2019. Sandwiched between these releases will be standalone films, presumably starring some of the series’ more popular characters (Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett have all been rumoured.
According to First Things, J.R.R. Tolkien once nixed a film adaptation of his classic novel, Lord of the Rings, by the Beatles. Better yet, the film was to be directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Via Patheos, First Things lays out the original plans:
Once upon a time, the Fab Four—having slain the pop charts—decided to set their sights on the Dark Lord Sauron by making a Lord of the Rings feature, starring themselves. One man dared stand in their way: J.R.R. Tolkien.
According to Peter Jackson, who knows a little something about making Lord of the Rings movies, John Lennon was the Beatle most keen on LOTR back in the ’60s—and he wanted to play Gollum, while Paul McCartney would play Frodo, Ringo Starr would take on Sam and George Harrison would beard it up for Gandalf. And he approached a pre-2001 Stanley Kubrick to direct.
More details came from a conversation between Paul McCartney and Peter Jackson, who successfully managed to coerce the Tolkien estate into giving up the film rights to the trilogy (something that Christopher Tolkien still hasn’t lived down):
McCartney told Jackson about the failed scheme when the two bumped into each other at the Academy Awards: “It was something John was driving and J.R.R. Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage but he didn’t like the idea of the Beatles doing it. So he killed it,” Jackson told the Wellington Evening Post in 2002.
“There probably would’ve been some good songs coming off the album,” said Jackson.
That Tolkien didn’t care for the Beatles will come as no surprise to fans of either one, but Tolkien’s letters give us a hint that his opposition to the Beatles may have had a more personal dimension.
I think the real question, though, is whether the Beatles/Kubrick film would have managed to feel even more like an acid trip than the terribly awesome (or awesomely terrible) Ralph Bakshi adaptation.
Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
Today marks the worldwide release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. To celebrate, I’ve gathered together some of my favourite art, professional and amateur, together to celebrate the wonderful legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s best (yep, best) work.
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.
I will fully admit to nicking most of these images from a post at Tor.com, also celebrating some of the wonderful art created in celebration of The Hobbit. So, have you seen the film? What did you think? And, what are some of your favourite pieces of art from The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings?
The Hobbit has has an interesting road to theatres, fraught with obstacles that, at times, appeared seemingly insurmontable. Now, we are only a few weeks away from the release of the first film in the Hobbit trilogy, and things are looking (mostly) peachy, but though the road might go ever on, Ian McKellan recently reminded fans that it can often be a bumpy ride. On his blog, the actor recently revealed some of his early doubts about returning to the world of Middle Earth and donning the grey wizard’s iconic hat:
Now I’ve returned to Gandalf, I can’t quite believe that there was ever any doubt in my mind – but there was! There always is, with any job offer.
In making up my mind, I usually write down the pros and the cons and see which list is the longer or weightier. Thus:
PRO: Working with Peter Jackson is always stimulating and fun: we make each other laugh and he doesn’t let me get away with anything too theatrical on film. I admire his world-class colleagues like Andrew Lesnie (cinematographer), John Howe and Alan Lee (designers of Middle-earth) and so many more who returned for The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings trilogy has become a cinematic classic and the same could well be true of The Hobbit. I enjoy living in New Zealand and exploring the amazingly beautiful countryside.
CON: A two-year commitment to The Hobbit would keep me from other work and keep me away from home and friends in London. I like new challenges and I’ve already played Gandalf the Grey.
When Peter first told me he had committed to The Hobbit, I immediately cleared my diary and stood by for the call. It was a long time coming, because Peter withdrew from the project and was replaced by Guillermo del Toro. Guillermo and I got on well, with a couple of meetings discussing his approach. Then he too withdrew. So it was back with Peter and then more delays, through illness and disagreements with the New Zealand actors’ union. I began to think The Hobbit was jinxed – another reason con.
What clinched it and made up my mind was the advice of a wise friend: “Ian, all those fans of the LOTR aren’t going to understand or care about your doubts. They just want to see you back as Gandalf.” And then I realised what I’d known all along, that I couldn’t bear to think of another actor donning the pointy hat and grey robes.
And that was that. Thank goodness!
Thank goodness, indeed. In the decade since their first release, the film version have become as integral to the mythos of Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s world as the books themselves, at least to this blogger. To love the face of one of the film’s most iconic and powerful performances would be a tragedy. Good to have you back on board, Ian.