August 25th, 2011

No sequel for The Frodo Franchise

[Added August 26: Turns out that my online writing about the Tolkien films has not come to an abrupt end. I won't be posting here, but I've accepted an invitation from to join their staff and contribute occasionally. I'm sure most of you are TORn readers, so I hope you'll find my posts when they appear. More details here.

As many of you know, I have been hoping to write a follow-up book to The Frodo Franchise, dealing with the making of The Hobbit. My plan was to examine the impact of digital filmmaking technology on the way the production team. I also wanted to look at how globalization has affected the composition of that team.

After three and a half years of enquiries, I now learn that I will not be able to do such a book. Naturally I am disappointed, since I find the two topics fascinating ones, and a book dealing with them would have made a big contribution to the field of film studies. It would have been welcomed by the loyal fans who have been following Peter Jackson’s film adaptations for so long. Indeed, I know from many kind comments on the message boards of and elsewhere that fans enjoyed my first book and were hoping for a second.

Now that I know I will not be tackling a second book, I’m going to stop posting new entries on this blog. I’ll be turning my full attention to other projects. One of these is a book-length analysis of stylistic and narrative techniques in Tolkien’s two hobbit novels. That’s already well underway, and I have over 150 manuscript pages drafted. Some of you are aware that I am also an Egyptologist. I’m in the research stage of a large book project on the statuary of the Amarna period. I am primarily a film historian, and will keep my husband’s and my two textbooks up to date, as well as contributing to our joint blog and tackling other film projects. I have also been asked to write a short account of the films for a reference book on Tolkien to be published by Oxford University Press.

I’m very grateful to all of you who have sent me links over the roughly four and a half years during which I have been blogging on this site. You have helped make my coverage far larger than I could have managed as a one-person operation.

I am also grateful to all the filmmakers and other people connected to the LOTR film franchise who allowed me to interview them for The Frodo Franchise. Thanks also to those who weren’t interviewed for the book but who helped me in other ways during my visits to Wellington. I am still amazed that I was able to write the book entirely as I had planned it, despite the fact that my topic was huge. My many interviewees are largely responsible for that.

As to The Hobbit, like other fans I shall follow its progress and look forward to finally seeing its two parts as the rest of Tolkien’s saga comes to the screen.

I shall leave the Frodo Franchise blog online, since it could prove useful to other researchers. It provides a pretty thorough record of the events that took place during the many delays and obstacles that the Hobbit project endured. (In particular, last year’s labor dispute and the dealings between the New Zealand government and Warner Bros. were covered here in, as I recall, 110 postings!) My email address remains at the top of the page, in case you want to get in touch.