We have recently learned that after a very long and protracted negotiation, Universal is very close to acquiring the rights to develop and produce attractions based on the successful Lord of the Rings franchise of films. This, along with the vast Harry Potter content, will give Universal a leg up on the worldwide theme park wars.
What might be coming? Nothing has been announced. But one can only imagine where Universal Creative will take us.
Perhaps we will be able to take a carriage ride through the Shire and visit the home of Bilbo Baggins. Better still, we could soon be wandering the pristine stone and water passageways of Rivendell for a visit with Elrond. Can’t you just imagine a spectacular Mordor coster-style attraction?
Which park will it be a part of? It is far too early to know which parks (or perhaps even an entirely new park) will see Middle Earth first. However, the most likely scenario would have the additions appearing in Islands of Adventure first, perhaps replacing Toon Lagoon and any expansion space for Jurassic Park. Another option might have it taking over the entire San Francisco area in the Studios park. Universal Creative’s new motto is, “Go BIG or go HOME!”. So, regardless of where, we know that it will be huge and undoubtedly, impressive.
But why Universal? How did they land yet another successful literary film franchise? Don’t think that their expert handling of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe had little to do with it. In fact, Rowling seems to have even had a hand in convincing the Tolkien family that Universal Creative was the way to bring Middle Earth to life.
So how do you, the theme park goer, feel about this news? Do you think this will lead to some brilliant new adventures or should the hobbits be left to pasture? What would you like to see built with this franchise? What does Disney need to do, not just to catch up with Potter but battle the forces of Middle Earth as well?