‘Lord of the Rings’ in Danger, HBO Max Reportedly Pushing Landmark Layoffs

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

Credit: New Line Cinema

Warner Bros. and HBO Max are changing forever, and nobody knows what’s happening.

Warner Bros. Discovery logo
Credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

HBO is owned by Warner Bros, which Discovery now owns. Following the landmark acquisition of Warner Bros. media, Discovery has taken significant steps to redirect the Hollywood conglomerate’s creative direction and financial stability.

DC League of Super-Pets
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

From the addition of executive veteran Alan Horn joining Warner Bros. as a principal consultant to the shake-up cancellation of the $90 million Batgirl and more, HBO Max is reportedly expecting to lay off up to 70% of its development staff:

HBO Max is expected to layoff around 70% of their development staff.

“Sounds like they’re not doing HBO Max scripted shows anymore with HBO taking over, so less scripted shows overall,” says one company insider.

On top of that, HBO Max is reportedly removing countless streaming series and movies performing poorly on the platform ahead of a merger with Discovery+, a streaming platform dedicated to all things HGTV, Discovery Channel, and more.

Discovery+ logo
Credit: Discovery

Now, with so much turmoil taking over the public image of Warner Bros., the internet is losing faith in the studio altogether:

HBO Max is expected to layoff around 70% of their development staff. It sounds like this is the end of original HBO Max shows with HBO taking over.

Another fan writes:

Warner Bros. Discovery is about to cancel TV shows mid-season. I’m gonna be streaming the next episode of PLL: Original Sin and it’ll cut to a black screen with text: “This show is not the direction we want our brand to go in. We’ve deleted the show from HBO Max.”

It’s unclear exactly why Discovery is taking these massive leaps to completely redefine HBO Max, which was recently reported as the highest-rated streaming service (beating out Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu).

Ben Affleck as Batman
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Given that HBO Max is the home of the DCEU and DC film universe, as well as the hub for The Lord of the Rings franchise, it’s possible that these titles could be disappearing or being significantly cut back due to recent tax write-off efforts:

A long list of more original movies & TV shows will be removed from HBO Max soon. Content being targeted for removal includes TV shows & movies that are not performing well but have an opportunity for a partial tax write off.

Now that Amazon Video is the new beacon for fresh Rings content, with The Rings of Power hitting the streaming service on September 2, it’s only a matter of time until Amazon gains the streaming and distribution rights to Tolkien’s work for their platform, bringing Peter Jackson’s trilogies to its service.

While The Lord of the Rings is increasingly popular for HBO Max, could the rights to the films be too expensive for the platform cutting costs at all measures? While none of these theories are confirmed, it never hurts to speculate.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn (far left), Sir Ian McKellan as galdalf (middle), orlando bloom as legolas (right), sean astin as samwise gamgee (bottom left), elijah wood as frodo baggins (bottom middle), and dom monaghan as merry brandybuck (bottom right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

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With Discover taking over Warner Bros., it’s implied that HBO Max could turn into a tab on Discovery+, rather than having its dedicated streaming platform for new series such as House of the Dragon and more.

Nonetheless, something significant is happening behind the scenes at Warner Bros. Discovery. Something that not every fan and working professional is ready for.

More about The Rings of Power

Taking place in the episodic Second Age of Middle Earth, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power chronicles the construction of the One Ring worn by dark lord Sauron under Mount Doom:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne in the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Elijah Wood as Frodo (left) and Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee (right)
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: Amber Heard Claims She Wasn’t Replaced in ‘Aquaman 2’ Following Depp Trial

The near $1 billion series is set to focus on the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the historic alliance between Elves and Men (that transcended the entire franchise), the island of Númenor/Westernesse, as well as a look into Khazad‐dûm/Moria before the dwarven kingdom fell to hoards of goblins and the deadly Balrog/Durin’s Bane.

However, unfortunately, you won’t be seeing any of the legendary hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Bilbo Baggins (Sir Ian Holm), Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), Pippen Took (Billy Boyd), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gandalf the White (Sir Ian McKellen), Saruman (Sir Christopher Lee), Gollum (Andy Serkis), and more in Rings of Power.

The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power Elrond (left) and Galadriel (right)
Credit: Amazon Studios

Related: Will Smith Won’t Be Canceled, Massive Film Project Moves Forward

Dark Lord Sauron is set to have a massive role in The Rings of Power. Still, the series features a relatively unknown cast of lead and supporting actors that are set to play some of the most formative names in Elrond (Robert Aramayo), Lady Galadriel of Lothlórien (Morfydd Clark), and Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), replacing Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving.

Morfryyd Clark as Galadriel
Credit: Amazon

Related: “We’re All Going With Him,” James Gunn Doubles Down on Chris Pratt Replacement Rumors

New characters like Dwarven Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), silvan elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), and Cole (Maxim Baldry) have been created specifically for the series.

Sophia Nomvete as Dwarven Princess Disa
Credit: Amazon

Related: Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet Call Off Surprise Divorce, Move Back In Together

Showrunner Patrick McKay and writer JD Payne pen the tentative series with directors JA Bayona and Wayne Che Yip leading the Rings show set to debut on September 2, 2022.

More About DC Universe

While it’s unclear what the future holds for Zack Snyder’s proposed Justice League II and Justice League III, as well as the connection of the DCEU with Wonder Woman 3, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023), The Flash, Black Adam (2022), and Shazan: Fury of the Gods (2023), the confirmation of Henry Cavill finally reprising his role of Superman after six years for a Man of Steel II and even Man of Steel III, would elevate WarnerMedia’s Hollywood take on superheroes to a whole new level, potentially giving Marvel Studios a run for their money!

Zack Snyder with Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Margot Robbie Looks Ahead to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, Wraps Up ‘Barbie’

While the current DCEU consists of Bruce Wayne/Caped Crusader/Batman (Ben Affleck), Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill), Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Peacemaker (John Cena), and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher), there’s an endless amount of opportunities for new characters to appear with the Multiverse, including Michael Keaton’s Batman in the upcoming The Flash movie!

What do you think of this HBO Max news? Comment below!

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