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Will There Ever Be A Silmarillion Movie Made?

Updated on August 28, 2012

If you are wondering if there will ever be a Silmarillion movie then you are in the right place. On this page we will look at the likelihood that this book by J.R.R Tolkien will actually be turned into a movie. We will see if maybe Peter Jackson may think about adding this one to his catalogue of Tolkien works or if another producer might try bringing this story to the big screen.

The Silmarillion is a book by the great fantasy author J.R.R Tolkien. Tolkien was of course most well known for his book The Hobbit and also the Lord Of The Rings. One of his lesser known works though is a collection of tales set long before The Hobbit. He never actually completed the Silmarillion, it wasn’t until after his death that his son Christopher Tolkien completed the book and got it published. So as his other works have been so successful when turned into movies, will this one go a similar way?

The Book

The First Issue With A Silmarillion Movie

So if you are unfamiliar with the Silmarillion you will not realise that it is unlike the other writings of Tolkien. Readers who enjoy the simple flowing story of The Hobbit and then the engaging beautifully crafted Lord Of The Rings will find this other Tolkien book a very different affair. The Silmarillion is not simply a good old fashion story, it is rather a complicated collection of tales and a history of Middle Earth and other realms. The story is very deep and complicated with a massive array of characters separated by large spans of time. The story jumps all over the place and can be extremely difficult to follow. Many people start reading this book and give up half way through, this would cause a problem for anyone making a movie.

The book is actually separated into five parts. Some of these are set in the first age, some the second and then the final part is about the third age and gives a history of what led to the tales in the LOTR. To put all this into one film would be almost impossible. The characters that appear in one section of the book don’t appear in others. The time frame is set over thousands of years. There is simply no cohesion over the flow of the book as a whole.

Another issue is the detail in the book. If you have read the LOTR you will no that Tolkien uses wonderfully descriptive language to really engage the reader, however this is not the case in the Silmarillion. The story moves at a fast pace and major events can happen with very little detail being described. Another issue is character depth, again usually Tolkien tells us lots about characters and he develops them wonderfully well. This is often not the cast with the Silmarillion, characters here come and go very quickly and a reader rarely gets to know any of them on a personal level.

J.R.R Tolkien

The Rights To The Book

Another issue is of course the rights to the book. If you know how much trouble Peter Jackson went through trying to get The Hobbit up and running you will realise that getting the rights to any Tolkien writings is no easy task. The fact that Tolkien was no longer alive when the book was finished also makes things that little bit more complicated for someone who may want to purchase the rights to the book.

The Tolkien family will realise that for someone to take the story and convert it to film would be a serious undertaking, doing so would probably mean that large sections of the book would be altered and this may not be something the family would be happy about. True Tolkien fans would probably feel the same, when Jackson left out small details in the LOTR they were up in arms, so a heavily edited version of the Silmarillion would not go down to well with some people.

If in the likely event that the Tolkien family do not sell the rights to the book under US law a person must wait 75 years from the death of an author till the work becomes public domain. Hence it would be 75 years from the death of Christopher Tolkien as he finished the writings. So that’s going to be a long time for any would be film maker to wait.

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If A Silmarillion Film Did Happen

So now we have told you all the issues with this becoming a reality, how likely is it. Well as the way things stand at the moment, not very. But things do change. Twenty years ago nobody would have dreamed a trilogy of LOTR films would be packing out cinemas, but that happened. You can never make any definite statement these days as things are always possible.

If someone did take the task on they could possibly split the book up and make five different movies. Another possibility would be to take bits of the story and base a movie on these events. The book has such a depth of information that you could probably make several very long films and still have plenty left over. The possibilities would really be huge, but of course the task would be mammoth.

Although it’s not impossible we can say it would be extremely unlikely that Peter Jackson would get involved in such an undertaking. Obviously with the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and then the three Hobbit movies he has created something truly spectacular. But it would be a real surprise if he was willing to tackle something as complex as the Silmarillion.

For most fans of Tolkien the Silmarillion is just a complicated piece of writing that has little appeal. To some others though it is a true masterpiece. The chances that we will ever see a movie based on this book are very slim, but as is so often the case when it comes to things on the big screen, you really can never say never.


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