The Silmarillon is not as accessible as the LotR or the Hobbit. That's partly because Tolkien never finished telling the story himself, of course, but also because there are really no characters like the Hobbits to mediate the readers' relationship to the high fantasy. Human beings don't even come into the story until about a third of the way through. Even then, they are of the heroic variety for the most part.
It's more like reading actual myths or arthurian romance in a condensed form.
It would be a challenge to adapt, but not impossible. It could also end up being extremely lucrative. I think you'd end up with the following basic stories:
Feonor and the Silmarils
Beren and Luthien
The Children of Hurin
The Fall of Numenor
The first movie would probably be the trickiest, honestly, as it would have to establish the whole mythology, and would probably have to introduce humanity once the Elves arrive on Middle Earth in pursuit of Morgoth. Some adjustments would have to be made with the chronology here, but nothing out of hand.
Beren and Luthien, along with the Children of Hurin, are the two sections that most easily lend themselves to stand alone stories. As somebody mentioned above, you could start the Beren and Luthien movie with the Fall of Fingolfin, which would be EPIC. This movie would also introduce Sauron.
Similarly, you could start the Children of Hurin with the last stand of the men of Dor-lomin (sp?), equally epic. Mostly it would focus on Turin. Lots of good characters here, including Beleg and Mablung.
The story of Earendil would start with the Fall of Gondolin and end with the defeat of Morgoth. The trickiest aspect would really be the first movie. It would have to cover a lot of ground, and that story has the least obvious hook. For that reason, another possibility would be to start in medias res with Beren and Luthien, and continue from there. This story is rich and complex enough that it could actually be two movies, same with most of the other stories mentioned above. It has everything, really. Strong male and female leads, epic adventure, romance. Less detail in the actual text than with the LotR, so plenty of flexibility for the director.
The budgets for these movies would be off the charts, though.
I'm speaking as somebody who doesn't like the Jackson films much, by the way. But the reality is, somebody is thinking about these scripts as we speak. You could easily make six or seven huge movies with this material.
Accessibility be damned, it's got a hell of a lot more interesting storytelling than The Hobbit and the production, cost and editing challenges are of no greater scale than those of the trilogy.
Movies would be the only way I'd ever learn the stories of The Silmarillion. I am interested in what they're about, but I have no intention of ever reading them.
The Silmarillion is like the Old Testament. It's full of geneologies, who begat who, creation myths, many different characters with their own long tales, many locations, and it takes place over thousands of years. It really is several dozen books within a single book.
Thanks for the "I read the back cover and wrote an Amazon review". Someone mentioned "Detached Folklore", talk about a detached review. I'm just going to go ahead and assume everyone who thinks this way read about 5 pages into the Valaquenta and gave up.
Alidar Jarok wrote:
A collection of unrelated tales almost always do not make an epic movie. The only time it works is in Tarentino-esque ultra violent gangster movies.
Unrelated? You've... actually read it, right?
Alidar Jarok wrote:
As someone who read the Appendix to the Return of the King, even I think the Silmarillion would make a bad movie. Maybe it's just the way the story was told. The LOTR was a personal story focusing on characters. The Silmarillion is sort of detached folk lore. It has an omniscient narrator throughout if I recall correctly. It doesn't lend itself to the same style as everything else (while the Hobbit does, aside from being a lighter tale).
Dude, it could be EPIC.
The Silmarillion is not ONE tale. It's a collection of unrelated stories. Beren and Luthien would make a hell of a movie. And, man... the story of Feanor and his sons -- that would be majorly BITCHIN.
People keep saying that each tale is separate and unrelated, but if you have the big picture in front of you, you wouldn't feel that way. It's a chronology, one that takes place over thousands of years, yes, but one that features characters who live for thousands of years
. I didn't say the entire thing could be told in one continuous stream, I said it has enough of a continuous story in the war of the jewels to sustain at least one primary thread.
I swear to God, the fact that some of you will pay money to watch the goddamn Hobbit and sit here and denigrate the filmability of what would fifty times more worthy of screen time and call yourself a Tolkien fan is a sacrilege on the order of jerking off into the pope hat by fantasizing about a dismembered baby Jesus. It makes me want to bolt you to a chair, staple your eyes open and force you to read the damn thing because I'm betting half of you are a bunch of fucking liars. You always get this with Tolkien, posers who cracked the book, got bored and slam it to distract from their infantile attention spans.