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New ‘Lord of the Rings’ film ‘The Hunt for Gollum’ enters script development, eyes 2026 release

The upcoming film, the first in a series of new LOTR movies, will be helmed by Andy Serkis with close collaboration with director Peter Jackson.

By Larisha Paul

Lord of the Rings
Andy Serkins as Gollum in ‘The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’ (Picture: New Line Cinema)

Warner Bros. Discovery has kicked off the script development process for a new series of Lord of the Rings films. During a first-quarter earnings review, the company revealed the working title for the first installment of the upcoming release slate, a film tentatively titled: Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum.

According to CEO David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Pictures’ goal is to have the film ready for release by 2026 in partnership with New Line Cinema. He added that the slate of movies with “explore storylines yet to be told,” with the trilogy’s original director Peter Jackson returning as a producer while Andy Serkis prepares to direct and star in The Hunt for Gollum.

Jackson’s longtime writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will pen the screenplay in a deal that spans two films in the franchise. “Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle Earth Peter, Fran and Philippa,” Serkis shared in a statement. “With Mike and Pam, and the Warner Bros team on the quest as well, alongside WETA and our film making family in New Zealand, it’s just all too delicious.”

In a joint statement, Jackson, Boyens and Walsh added: “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!”

The original Lord of the Rings trilogy concluded more than two decades ago with 2003’s The Return of the King. “Lord of the Rings is one of the most successful and revered franchises in history and presents a significant opportunity for our theatrical business,” Zaslav shared. Warner Bros. and New Line first broke news of the developing films in February 2023.

“Warner Bros. and Embracer have kept us in the loop every step of the way,” Jackson, Boyens, and Walsh said at the time. “We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward.”

The Hunt for Gollum is the latest project to take Tolkien’s world and run with it, following Amazon Prime Video’s The Rings of Power series that predates LOTR.

From Rolling Stone.