Sean Astin has some thoughts on the prospective Lord of the Rings TV series that's now in early development. Back in 1985, Astin made his big screen debut in Steven Spielberg's family adventure film The Goonies. He's collected an impressively long list of credits since then, from the heartwarming cult-fave football drama Rudy to the just-released season 2 of Netflix's surprise sci-fi/horror hit Stranger Things. His most beloved and well-known role to date, arguably, is that of hobbit Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.
The massive success of that trio of films, both critically and at the box office, means it's no surprise that Amazon is hoping to deliver its own version soon to its subscribers. The streaming network is currently in talks with Warner Bros. to develop Tolkein's work into a series - though the project is still in very early stages, as mentioned.
While some fans might not be in a hurry to see Jackson's vision supplanted by a small screen LOTR, Astin revealed to EW that he finds the idea of a new series both "intriguing" and not at all surprising:
"I've been saying for 15 years...maybe like 12 years after Lord of the Rings came out, that it would get remade. And people always said, 'Oh no, it'll never get remade! It's a classic! They could never top it!' And I’m like, 'No, it’ll get remade. It's a massive story! The characters are so beloved.'"
Astin adds that he's carrying the "Samwise banner" for Jackson's films and hadn't at all considered reprising his role, if asked, for the TV series. He's more interested in who a new Sam would be, and what aspect of the story might be told. He's all for choosing a different Lord of the Rings plotline to focus on for the television version:
"The Mines of Moria are referred to a lot in Lord of the Rings. And I guess in the Hobbit trilogy, you spent a little bit of time with them, but the culture of the dwarves in the mines… I would love to see like five hours of that."
It will be interesting to see how a series would progress on Amazon, if all the pieces fall into place and the show moves forward in development. The potential for many hours of storytelling on television could just mean a deeply expanded version of the tale of the Ring that the Jackson films explored, or it could take a closer look at different parts of Tolkein's realm and create something new.
There will definitely be a lot of pressure to create a series that's epic and unique enough to make it a worthy successor to Jackson's work. Astin feels that full autonomy for the showrunners, an environment he's enjoyed on both Lord of the Rings and Stranger Things, is the key to a quality project:
"The challenge would be, could [Amazon] find some team to do it that they could let to their thing, or are they going to squat on it? It’s hard to make a TV series like this by committee."
There is no premiere date yet for The Lord of the Rings TV series.