Warner Bros. will release the first of a new series of live-action The Lord of the Rings films in 2026, The Hunt for Gollum, and will focus on Andy Serkis’ character Gollum. Serkis will also direct and Peter Jackson and team will produce.

Last week WBD CEO David Zaslav made the announcement, and said the script was in development with writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, along with Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou. Walsh and Boyens were the writers on both the LOTR and the Hobbit Trilogies.

Warner Bros. first announced in 2023 that WBD CEO (at that time) Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy had brokered a deal to make “multiple” films based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien books. The deal was made with an entity called Embracer Group, that bought Middle-earth Enterprises (that controls the movie rights) from Saul Zantz. If this sounds complex, the Tolkien rights are an indeed an epic tale — maybe for a future article, but for now, it’s enough to know Warner Bros. can make more LOTR movies and they are.

Jackson, Walsh and Boyens added: “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!” Serkis said “The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle Earth”

The original “Lord of the Rings” and Hobbit trilogies, helmed by Jackson, grossed $6 billion worldwide and won countless awards for excellence. The new films make financial sense. How about the creative reasons? Jackson explained why in an interview explaining he decided to return to Lord of the Rings for the Hunt for Gollum movie, and why Andy Serkis was selected as director. Though his trilogy touches on it briefly, Jackson says there is much more of Gollum’s backstory to explore, especially when his whereabouts were unknown. Speaking on why Serkis was selected as director, Jackson mentioned his time working as a second unit director on The Hobbit trilogy. And his understanding of the dual nature of Gollum.

This pathetic creature was originally a hobbit named Sméagol, who killed his cousin Déagol for possession of the One Ring and, over time, became corrupted by its power and turned into a Gollum. In J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit, it was revealed that the name “Gollum” comes from the resonating frog-like sound he made when swallowing compulsively, which he did often.


David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.