ByAaron Hubbard, writer at
Opinions, theories, and facts regarding movies, comics, and games.
Aaron Hubbard

The effect The Lord of the Rings has had in my interests.

Ever since I was a young boy, I have always loved the atmosphere of a good, fantasy epic. I had attempted - on more than one occasion - to write a fantasy series of my own but most fell by the wayside (though I still have ideas swimming through my head that I just need to transport to paper).

But where my love for the fantasy genre was really stoked hot was back when Peter Jackson chose to write/direct The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As I said, I had always loved fantasy, but never experienced truly as grand most my childhood until the day came when my brother and I rented and watched both The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers back-to-back in 2003. At this time, I had also just started the 7th grade and had begun to read J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" book.

To say the least, I was captivated by the sheer size and scale of The Lord of the Rings story both in the books by Tolkien himself and also the movies by Peter Jackson's almost magical ability at bringing them to life. I had never thought of a series of that nature having such a long story-line that it would inhabit three books/movies; I had always just assumed that each story was stand-alone and that each would have exciting new adventures.

Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien
Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings really helped my imagination to expand beyond what I thought were literary or cinematic norms and indeed both Tolkien went against whatever norms were around at the time when he wrote the book just as Peter Jackson went against the norms of Hollywood and shot all three movies consecutively with very little breaks in-between which truly allowed for the first time - in my experience - a feeling of adventure unlike anything done in Hollywood before.

If you can't tell at this point, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favorite story above anything else. Yes, that means it's above anything Star Wars, anything Avengers-related, and even higher up my list than The Dark Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan - though, admittedly, that comes to a close second.

The mention of Peter Jackson's name gets me excited

Peter Jackson's return to Middle-Earth
Peter Jackson's return to Middle-Earth

That is why whenever it was announced that Peter Jackson was returning to direct The Hobbit films, I was ecstatic. All of the amazing work that he did in The Lord of the Rings would surely be replicated in the energy it would take to film the story of Bilbo Baggins. But alas, though I did enjoy The Hobbit trilogy, it didn't live up the to the epic tale of The Lord of the Rings for many reasons. Indeed, I have just re-watched the entire extended trilogy of The Hobbit and was thoroughly entertained so that is not why I say that Peter Jackson has broke my heart.

Searching for even more, great fantasy epics!

Ever since the thrill of both reading and watching The Lord of the Rings, I have had a hunger for more fantasy that can achieve the epic scale I felt when reading that series. I have read a few good books here and there such as "Eragon" (but I never made it past the first book, probably cause of the bad taste the movie left in my mouth) or "The Chronicles of Narnia" which were good, but just "good". However, there is one series that I have laid my hands on and have enjoyed immensely and it is a series by Naomi Novik called the "Temeraire" series.

The first three books in the Temeraire series
The first three books in the Temeraire series

There was something so interesting about re-creating historical truths by adding the flare of fantasy. A sort of "what if" regarding great events that took place hundreds of years ago.

The story goes...

The idea that Novik introduced in her first installment, "His Majesty's Dragon" - or simply titled "Temeraire" in the United Kingdom - was that dragons came in various shapes and sizes all across the world and co-existed with humanity and even take up allegiances with nations to fight and aide in war. In the case of the "Temeraire" series, the war is the Napoleonic Wars that took place between the years 1803 and 1815.

War of the Third Coalition
War of the Third Coalition

The book starts off in the year 1804, during the War of the Third Coalition. Our protagonist, Captain William Laurence of the HMS Reliant seizes a French frigate carrying precious cargo on its way to Napoleon himself. The cargo mentioned consisted of a dragon egg. With the egg near hatching and such a valuable resource for the British Aerial Corps - a branch of British military which consists of dragons and crews to ride them - Captain Laurence orders the men of his ship to attempt to get the little dragonet to accept handler and harness and thus establish a bond that should last a lifetime. But none of the men are deemed good enough by the young dragon except for Captain William Laurence himself. This starts off as troublesome considering that a enlistment with Britain's Aerial Corps was not considered an entirely honorable position however necessary it may be. But as the stories go on, Laurence and the young dragon, whom Laurence names "Temeraire" after a French second-rate ship which was seized, develop a deep affection for one another.

The stories and the adventures that take place are truly grand and the way Naomi Novik writes really brings the reader to place of awe as they envision 19th century battles on the seas while simultaneous battles of vicious dragons rage on in the skies.

I'm first and foremost a "movies" guy.

Me and my MoviePilot glasses
Me and my MoviePilot glasses

Now, being a writer on MoviePilot, it is obvious that I love movies and every time I read a good book, I try to envision what that story would look like on the big screen. The vision of the Temeraire series hitting the big screens would be one of my dreams come true for movies and apparently Peter Jackson felt the same way, whenever I did the research to see if there was any hope of seeing Temeraire take flight on film.

Peter Jackson's vision is almost the same as my own!

Back in 2006, Peter Jackson spoke to The Hollywood Reporter and revealed that he optioned for the rights of "Temeraire" on film. He had this to say about Naomi Novik's epic, historical/fantsy:

"{Temeraire] is a terrific meld of two genres that I particularly love—fantasy and historical epic. I can't wait to see Napoleonic battles fought with a squadron of dragons. That's what I go to the movies for."

I couldn't agree, more, Mr. Jackson.

But apparently, in 2009, Jackson got a little bit more nervous about the market for a Temeraire series of films. When he spoke to IGN, he stated:

“I can’t see any degree of common sense in trying to mount them one at a time as feature films. To me the stories, having read the first ones, already work as this continuing, on-going saga, so I’m thinking “Is there a marketplace out there yet for a large budget mini-series?”

“I guess you’d think of things like HBO and you’d think of Band of Brothers and that sort of thing, but it’d be different than that. The market’s changing so much, TV networks are changing, so I’m thinking is there actually a market out there that’d give us the budget to do this properly and allow us to shoot this as a 6, 7 or 8 part series where we have freedom, we have great production values and are able to tackle it as the epic saga that it deserves.”

“I just can’t see doing one expensive movie and if that’s successful you get to do another one, but if the second one isn’t quite as good maybe there’ll never be a third one… I just don’t see that fitting with the property at all.”

Peter Jackson should have taken the risk

If there's one thing I've learned about Hollywood, despite not actually being a part of it, is that sometimes risks need to be taken. Jackson here speaks on whether or not there was a market for a large-budget fantasy series and obviously, in the end, decided not to go forward with it as we've not seen any large black dragons battling in the skies as ship cannons erupt beneath them.

Game of Thrones banner
Game of Thrones banner

I think what's irritating is that two years later. TWO YEARS LATER! HBO opened up the large-budget fantasy series, based on a long-running series of books by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones. So obviously the market for this was out there and Jackson missed his chance at introducing it to the general audience. I would have preferred Temeraire more so than Game of Thrones.

Why can't it still happen?

But whether or not Peter Jackson introduced the first big-budget fantasy series or not, the market is obviously hungry for more. Game of Thrones is a hit - though I don't watch it - and other channels are trying to replicate that success such as the newly released MTV series The Shannara Chronicles - which I do watch, and enjoy.

Peter Jackson needs to revisit the idea of adapting Naomi Novik's famed series on a channel with the funds and ability to really support the needs of the story. There's HBO, Starz, Showtime, Netflix; someone has the money, someone has the resources, and I want to see Temeraire and Capt. Laurence on-screen together.


But as of now, there's nothing new regarding the series being adapted to television and though I enjoy ever word spoken in these book - I'm listening to the audio books on my Kindle Fire - a part of me will weep knowing that there was once a glimmer of hope of seeing these stories on screen and now there's literally nothing.

It's too bad too, I think Luke Evans would have been perfect for the role of Capt. William Laurence.

Luke Evans
Luke Evans

What books or book series would you guys like to see on screen. It can be a film or a television series. Let me know in the comments section below! And don't forget to follow me by clicking on the "FOLLOW" button below!


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