The Silmarillion is that holy grail of book to screen adaptations. J.R.R Tolkein’s other works have had great success as film adaptations. If the stars align and a good script set in place, The Silmarillion film franchise could rival that of The Lord of The Rings.
It has recently been confirmed that Amazon Studios have been tasked with the $250 million
burden honour of producing a multi-season Lord of the Rings television Series.
That’s right, the critically acclaimed multiple award winning adaptation of one of the greatest book series of all time is getting its own TV show. But why mess with perfection? Is that not setting yourself up to fail? (echoes of Alden Ehrenreich swimming in Harrison Ford’s enormous shoes).
Why not create something original, but something that if marketed just right could be equally profitable? (Not to mention keeping New Zealand’s tourism industry alive for another 15 years.)
Why not make The Silmarillion?
The revelations The Silmarillion can reveal.
Just say you were an avid film watcher and loved the Lord of the Rings, but knew nothing of the lore. What would you say if I told you that Sauron, The Lord of the Rings Big Bad, not to mention The Hobbit’s underlying omni-present threat was in fact a coward? That Balrog the fellowship faced? Yeah, picture hundreds of them, some riding dragons.
Not just small dragons like Smaug. Smaug is a little baby dragon compared to that of Ancalagon the Black. And Shelob the giant spider? Her mum Ungoliant was much older and much more powerful.
All these powerful beings, they were under command of a demi-God named Morgoth the Enemy and that is when The Silmarillion films should take place.
Silmarillion Installment 1: The Fall of the Lamps and Imprisonment of Melkor
Melkor (Or Morgoth) was basically the strongest and smartest demi-God (Valar) to enter Eä. He was pissed off that the other Valar didn’t recognise him as such and so he and his followers started wrecking all the other Valars’ creations.
They were quite powerless over him until Tulkas showed up. Tulkas would be the hero of this installment. So Tulkas beats the crap out of Melkor with his bare fists and Melkor is forced to run away. After a while Melkor finds an opportunity to destroy the two Lamps of Arda which supply light across the whole kingdom.
This forces the Valar to retreat to the west and set up base. They called this land Valinor. You might remember the hobbits travelling there at the end of the third installment of The Lord of the Rings.
Melkor builds his own fort in the East called Utumno. Then as Melkor sought to enslave the very first Elves, the Valar attack in the War of the Powers. Tulkas returns and beats the crap out of Melkor again and takes him back in a mighty unbreakable chain to be imprisoned for three ages.
Silmarillion Installment 2: The Theft of the Silmarils and the Fall of Fëanor.
Three ages have passed since Melkor (now named Morgoth) was imprisoned. Elves and Men have started to emerge into existence and the world is beautiful and flourishing. (Bear in mind there is still no sun or moon). Morgoth was released, much to Tulkas’s disapproval. But he turns on the charm and acts trustworthy.
He gains the trust of the Elves as they seek his knowledge and he seeks to use them. He manipulates Fëanor into mistrusting his half brother Fingolfin and says he wants to inherit Finwë’s throne over Fëanor.
After catching wind of his plans, Morgoth is chased off once again. This time on his way out he once again causes chaos, killing Finwë and stealing the silmarils and destroying the two trees with the help of Ungoliant, the giant spider.
With the jewels gone and the two trees destroyed, the world was dark once again. Fëanor was pissed off that Morgoth killed his father and stole the precious jewels he created. He gives chase to Morgoth as he retreats to Middle-Earth and his fortress of Angband. Fëanor and his sons make a sacred oath to retrieve the jewels no matter what.
The film would end with Fëanor being ambushed by Morgoths armies of Balrogs and being killed, leaving his sons to fulfil the oath.
Silmarillion Installment 3: The Siege of Angband and the Reclamation of a Silmaril.
Years pass after the death of Fëanor and his progeny are slowly killed, falling short of their oath. Meanwhile a mortal man Beren, who through war was driven from his home, comes across the most beautiful elf maiden in the land Lúthien.
As Lúthien’s father does not approve of their love, he sets Beren an impossible task to retrieve the Silmarils. Beren and Lúthien abscond into Agaband and Lúthien sings Morgoth to sleep whilst Beren cuts off a jewel from his crown. Morgoth wakes and sets his werewolf on them as they flee.
After losing the silmaril and his hand holding it down the beast’s throat, they manage to escape with the help of the eagles (Eagles really are the MVP’s). By the end they recover the jewel and Beren and Lúthien are united in mortality as they live out the remainder of their lives in peace.
Silmarillion Installment 4: The Call for Help and the Downfall of Morgoth
Now this could just as easily be a two parter (to which I’m sure Hollywood would oblige). The reasoning being is that so many battles take place across years of time. Characters come and go and there is not a whole lot in the way of progress.
In any case the main plot points include the descendant of Benen, Eärendil, travelling with the Silmaril to Valinor. There in the home of the Valar he pleas for help in taking down Morgoth once and for all. They agree and accompany him back with a mighty host.
During the proceeding War of Wrath, Eärendil is instrumental in bringing down Ancalagon the Black. A dragon as big as a mountain.
At some stage amongst the chaos we should probably see Sauron escaping, eluding to the existing films. In the end Morgoth is brought to justice and cast into the void. A timeless, empty space where he remains across the rest of the recorded ages of Middle Earth.
So what do you think? There is certainly a lot of history – too much to touch on everything. The events could quite nicely be written into a narrative, fleshing out characters and story elements. After all, it’s not like they haven’t done that before in The Hobbit.
There could be some issues with such a revolving door of characters. But that hasn’t seemed to have had a major impact on the current Marvel Cinematic Universe. I understand that there could also be some rights issues with that section of Tolkien’s universe.
I think a Silmarillion film franchise will happen eventually. It’s just a case of when.
If you enjoyed this article on the potential of a Silmarillion film franchise, check out this article on why Lord of the Rings is so good (and why it always will be).