At the moment, if you want to grab a slice of Middle-Earth you need to head to New Zealand, but there are rumors afoot that it might soon be heading closer to home.
TheOneRing.net is reporting that Disney and Warner Bros could be teaming up to deliver a Lord of the Rings theme park in the not too-distant-future. Originally there were tentative conversations that Warner intended to partner up with Universal to create an attraction, however now it seems that "Disney and Warner Brothers have either signed or are very close to singing an agreement that will bring The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie-inspired areas to the Disney Parks."
WDW News Today has reported that the deal has apparently been in the works since late last year and has now basically been concluded. Of course, there is still no official confirmation from either Warner or Disney to support this, so at this time I'd recommend taking a big pinch of salt. The story suggests Disney intend to incorporate Hobbit and LOTR attractions at the revamped California Adventure Park in Anaheim, CA. It continued that the deal could have been brokered as a means of rivaling the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio's theme park.
However, this deal will certain raise a few eyebrows of anyone familiar with Tolkien and Disney's history. Tolkien was often an outspoken and determined critic of Disney, stating once in a letter that he would "veto anything from or influenced by the Disney Studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing)."
The Tolkien estate has previously proven their not afraid to gather up arms to defend the Tolkien Estate, especially when it comes to merchandising the property. Of course, the studios could attempt to outflank the family all together, although both Warner and Disney have also had spats in the past, in particular with Disney snatching up Oz by creating Oz The Great and Powerful.
All in all, I wouldn't start booking your tickets to California just yet.
But what do you think? Do you want to see a theme park, or does all this merchandising just cheapen the whole story? Let us know below.