New 'Lord of the Rings' movie will put Gollum centre stage
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New 'Lord of the Rings' movie will put Gollum centre stage

New 'Lord of the Rings' movie will put Gollum centre stage
This publicity file photo provided by Warner Bros., shows the character Gollum, voiced by Andy Serkis, in a scene from the fantasy adventure "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

NEW YORK - The next movie in the "Lord of the Rings" franchise will focus on Gollum, one of the series' most recognisable characters, Warner Bros Pictures announced on Thursday.

Andy Serkis, who played the miniature creature in the original film trilogy, will direct and star in "Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum," which is scheduled for 2026, the studio said in a news release.

Another "Lord of the Rings" movie will follow "The Hunt for Gollum," Warner Bros said. The original trilogy's director, Peter Jackson, and screenwriters, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, will act as producers on both films. A separate animated movie directed by Kenji Kamiyama, "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim," will be released in December.

"Yesssss, Precious," Serkis said in a statement. "The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle-earth."

In addition to his work in "The Lord of the Rings," Serkis played Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" franchise and Supreme Leader Snoke in "Star Wars" movies. He has directed "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" and "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle" and is leading an animated adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

Andy Serkis who plays Gollum arrives at the United Kingdom (UK) premiere of the "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on Dec 11, 2003. (File photo: Reuters)

The "Lord of the Rings" movies are based on a series of fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The trilogy directed by Jackson — "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003) — grossed US$3 billion combined.

About a decade later, Jackson directed a three-part movie series based on Tolkien's "The Hobbit." Amazon Prime Video released the Middle-earth show "The Rings of Power" in 2022.

The announcement of two new "Lord of the Rings" movies comes as David Zaslav, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the studio's parent company, faces criticism for receiving $49.7 million in compensation last year despite the company's financial troubles. The conglomerate is also reportedly in jeopardy of losing its rights to broadcast National Basketball Association (NBA) games.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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