10:30 am EST, December 19, 2014

What 2015 means for Middle-earth fans

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The road goes ever on for members of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fandom.

Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t be getting a film adaption of The Silmarillion — or at least not while Peter Jackson is involved. The Tolkien Estate holds the copyright to all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, excluding The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien’s son Christopher does not seem eager to sell.

But for those fans whose love for Middle-earth extends beyond the conclusion to The Hobbit trilogy, there are still reasons to celebrate.

‘The Hobbit’ extended editions

If The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was still not enough for you — we now know that the extended cut of the final film will include an additional 30 minutes of footage. We can expect the DVD/Blu-ray late in 2015. We would also be very surprised if we don’t soon hear confirmation of a new The Hobbit box set, presumably with some extra features not included on the original discs. Even better, now that all six Tolkien films have been released, we can probably also expect a combined Middle-earth box set including all The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.

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‘The Lord of the Rings’ musical world tour

As well as a trilogy of hit films, The Lord of the Rings inspired a musical of the same name. The musical premiered in 2006 in Toronto, before moving to London in 2007. Luckily for fans, it is set to be revived for a world tour in 2015. Excitingly for fans across the world, the first stop will be the land of Lord of the Rings itself — New Zealand. Other locations are yet to be announced, but no doubt the producers will want to take it to as many cities as possible to cash in on the current Middle-earth nostalgia.

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A ‘Lord of the Rings’ theme park?

Rumours of a Middle-earth theme park have circulated for years. But recent reports indicate that we are closer to a deal being reached than ever. Initially it appeared Universal might snap up the rights. Now it seems Disney is the closest to inking a deal — an interesting proposal given J.R.R. Tolkien’s deep distrust of the Mouse (or in his own words: “Though in most of the ‘pictures’ proceeding from his [Disney’s] studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them to me is disgusting. Some have given me nausea”). Nothing is confirmed, but the rumours persist, and if Warner Bros. can make it happen, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if you could holiday to Middle-earth in the near future.

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Visit Hobbiton

A Lord of the Rings theme park might still be up in the air — but there’s already somewhere special for Middle-earth fans to make the trek to: Hobbiton. Work began on the set in 1999 for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it was rebuilt in 2011 for The Hobbit films. The site has reportedly tripled the amount of international tourist spending in the area. Unsurprisingly, now it remains as a permanent attraction that allows you to visit Bag End and the other Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon, and more. If you needed an excuse to visit New Zealand, a pilgrimage to Hobbiton may be just the thing.   

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2015 and 2016 anniversaries

In 2016 Lord of the Rings fans will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001 (and then the 15th anniversaries of The Two Towers in 2017 and The Return of the King in 2018). And the fandom can start their celebrations at the end of next year, as October 20, 2015 is the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Return of the King. If the Tolkien fandom ever needed a reason to throw a party — there’s four.

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‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ is in cinemas now

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