Embracer Group (formerly THQ Nordic) have purchased the rights to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings from the group who held them for over 50 years.
Embracer Group have, somewhat surprisingly, come out on top in terms of acquiring the extremely valuable rights to essentially the biggest IP in fantasy. One would assume they beat out other interested parties, including Amazon who currently have their own Lord of the Rings spin0ff nearing release.
The Swedish based Embracer Group, at least until recently, is predominantly known as a video game publisher. However, since their rebranding in 2019, they have been on an acquisition tear that has seen them diversify their media holdings.
For example, earlier this year Embracer Group purchased the rights to many video game properties (Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain and Thief) from Japanese publisher Square Enix for $300 million USD. This Lord of the Rings deal likely blasts that one out of the water though (official financial figures haven’t been released).
How the publisher plans to make their money back is up for debate, but it has been reported the deal, with original holders The Saul Zaentz Company, includes the right to make video games, films, series, theme park rides, theatre productions and board games. Essentially, everything bar the literary works themselves.
This has led to online speculation that Embracer group has big plans for the IP, possibly at a scale that could compete with franchises such as Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Therefore, expect character-based spinoffs; how Aragorn became Strider, a Gandalf vs. the Balrog feature film, a sitcom focusing on town planning in The Shire…the possibilities are endless and exhausting.
At the time of writing this is all speculation, so take this writer’s words with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, one can safely assume Embracer Group have grand plans for the Lord of the Rings extended universe.
Reportedly, this acquisition will not affect Amazon’s right to continue with their Rings of Power series, possibly because the series in question is longer than 8 episodes. It could also be an exception due to a previously agreed contract.
This is a developing story so we’ll keep an eye out for future updates.