Andy Serkis to Direct New ‘Lord of the Rings’ Movie ‘The Hunt for Gollum,’ 2026 Release Set

The first of the new “Lord of the Rings” movies in the works at Warner Bros. will be released in 2026, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced on Thursday, adding that script development is underway. Tentatively titled “The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum,” the film will be directed by Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in the original trilogy and “Hobbit” films and will reprise the role in this new film.

Original “Lord of the Rings” masterminds Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will be producing “and will be involved every step of the way,” according to Zaslav. Walsh and Boyens are writing the script alongside Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou (“Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim”).

In a statement, Serkis said, “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. 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 addition to playing Gollum in the groundbreaking “LOTR” trilogy, Serkis directed second unit on the “Hobbit” films and made his feature directorial debut with 2017’s drama “Breathe” and 2018’s performance capture “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.” Serkis most recently directed the “Venom” sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”

Said Jackson, Walsh and Boyens, “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!”

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group’s Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy said, “For over two-decades, moviegoers have embraced the Lord of the Rings film trilogy because of the undeniable devotion Peter, Fran and Philippa have shown towards protecting the legacy of Tolkien’s works, and to ensure audiences could experience the incredible world he created in a way that honors his literary vision. We are honored they have agreed be our partners on these two new films. With Andy coming aboard to direct Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum (*WT), we continue an important commitment to excellence that is a true hallmark of how we all want to venture ahead and further contribute to the Lord of the Rings cinematic history.”

The film will be executive produced by Ken Kamins, with Serkis and The Imaginarium’s Jonathan Cavendish.

Jackson, of course, directed the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as a trilogy of films based off of earlier J.R.R. Tolkien novel “The Hobbit,” the last of which was released in 2014.

Zaslav did not reveal who’s working on the script for the new movie, but Jackson, Walsh and Boyens wrote the original “Lord of the Rings” movies and the prequel trilogy “The Hobbit.”

This winter, Warner Bros. will release “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim,” an animated feature whose visual style takes its cues from the live-action films. It stars Brian Cox and Miranda Otto, who is reprising her role from the “Lord of the Rings” film series. The movie is set 200 years before “The Hobbit” and 261 years before “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy began in 2001, with “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” It was a huge commercial and critical juggernaut, grossing over $883 million worldwide and earning thirteen Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. It would win Oscars for its score, cinematography, make-up and visual effects.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” would follow in 2002 and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003.  The third film will win Best Picture and earn Peter Jackson a Best Director Academy Award, plus Oscars for adapted screenplay, original song, score, sound mixing, art direction, make-up, costume design, editing and visual effects.

“The Hobbit” trilogy, initially developed by Guillermo del Toro (who would wind up with a writing credit), was ultimately taken over by Jackson, with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 2012, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in 2013 and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in 2014.

Amazon also premiered “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” a lavish new series for their Prime Video streaming service, in 2022. The anticipated second season is scheduled to be released sometime this year.

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