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Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis on why they’re returning to Middle-earth for The Hunt for Gollum spinoff

Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis explain why they’re returning to Middle-earth for Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum.

Last Updated on May 24, 2024

As the Lord of the Rings franchise has pulled in nearly $6 billion over the course of six movies, it was only natural that Warner Bros. would return to the well. That’s why it didn’t come as a big surprise when it was announced that more Lord of the Rings movies are in development, the first of which will be Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum.

In addition to reprising his role as Gollum, Andy Serkis is set to direct The Hunt for Gollum, which will be written by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and produced by Peter Jackson. As for why the OG Lord of the Rings team has decided to return to Middle-earth, Jackson told Deadline that although we saw some of Gollum’s backstory in the previous six movies, there’s still a lot of story to be told.

The Gollum/Sméagol character has always fascinated me because Gollum reflects the worst of human nature, whilst his Sméagol side is, arguably, quite sympathetic,” Jackson said. “I think he connects with readers and film audiences alike, because there’s a little bit of both of them in all of us. We really want to explore his backstory and delve into those parts of his journey we didn’t have time to cover in the earlier films. It’s too soon to know who will cross his path, but suffice to say we will take our lead from Professor Tolkien.

After directing the previous six films in the franchise, passing the reigns to Serkis was a no-brainer for Jackson. “Andy was a joy to work with directing Second Unit on The Hobbit,” Jackson said. “He has the energy and imagination and, most importantly, an inherent understanding of the world of the story that is needed to step back into Middle-earth. We have collaborated on eight films together and each time it has been a fantastic experience. There’s no one in this earth better equipped to tackle Gollum’s story than Andy.

As for Serkis, he said he was “absolutely floored” when he got the call to direct The Hunt for Gollum. “They have done this to me before, and this had the same effect as when I got the call telling me I was going to direct second unit on The Hobbit,” he said. “I’m very honored that they’ve asked me to come back. I really am. I love them as filmmakers because they are honest. They always go for the truth. They are the most hardworking people on the planet, and their search for excellence never ends, and now I get to help reach that bar again. It was Philippa who first called me actually and said, look, this is what we’re thinking. And I was just flushed with a sort of, oh my God, I’m going back in there. Yeah, it was a terrific moment.

Motion-capture technology has advanced quite a bit since the early days of Lord of the Rings, and Serkis plans to take full advantage of it. “At that time, the motion capture technology back then was pretty much restricted to interior sets and it was just motion capture at that time,” Serkis said. “It really has now reached a level where the authorship of the performances…allows you to actually internalize more without any sense of overacting, or the closeup is the detail within a closeup when you’re being very still. This is something that is clearly working at a much greater and a deeper level now.” Serkis also teased that appearances from Lord of the Rings actors are a possibility.

That’s a difficult question to answer right at this moment in time, because we’re really in the nascent stages of what it is exactly where we’re doing, and where the story’s going to take us. So I don’t want to commit anything right now. I mean, because it’s so raw and so raw and wriggling, and we are just literally having very early state script discussions and ideas of exactly where and how we’re going to drop anchor with the character and his journey and how he is or comes into contact with other characters, and the characters that we know and don’t know. So still, I would hate to say anything that’s going to commit us at this point, because it’s literally all up for grabs.

Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum is set for a 2026 release.

Originally published at

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