The Beatles Wanted To Make Lord of the Rings Movie Back In 1968, But J. R. R. Tolkien Refused

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It’s been 20 years since Peter Jackson filmed Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, a legendary movie that started something that will become one of the best movie trilogies of all time. Lord of the Rings trilogy defined the fantasy genre into what it is today, and since then, fantasy movies and TV shows are getting more and more popular. And now, 20 years later, we still find out some interesting facts about it.

In 1968, when director Peter Jackson was only six, The Beatles, one of the most known rock bands of all time wanted to film a movie based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s original novel The Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien refused to sell the rights for adaptation. Considering that Lord of the Rings is something that was never seen in the cinema at the time of its release, who knows how would the audience react if Peter Jackson’s movie was actually a remake of something that was made more than three decades ago.

The Beatles: Get Back, a documentary series directed by Peter Jackson was recently released on Disney+. While working on the project, Jackson was working closely with Sir James Paul McCartney, a legendary musician and a former bassist for The Beatles. Jackson revealed now that he asked McCartney have The Beatles really tried to make a Lord of the Rings adaptation back in 1968.

“I’ve been scraping together little pieces of information. I’ve been interrogating Paul about it. Ringo doesn’t remember much. What I understand is that Denis O’Dell, who was their Apple film producer, who produced The Magic Christian, had the idea of doing Lord of The Rings. When they [The Beatles] went to Rishikesh and stayed in India, it was about three months with the Maharishi at the beginning of 1968, he sent the books to The Beatles. I expect because there are three, he sent one book to each of the Beatles. I don’t think Ringo got one, but John, Paul and George each got one Lord of The Rings book to read in India. And they got excited about it.”

“Ultimately, they couldn’t get the rights from Tolkien, because he didn’t like the idea of a pop group doing his story. So it got nixed by him. They tried to do it. There’s no doubt about it. For a moment in time they were seriously contemplating doing that at the beginning of 1968.”

Peter Jackson

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien refused to sell the rights in 1968, five years before he died. 30 years after his death, Peter Jackson released Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, for many known as the best fantasy movie of all time. The epic spectacle won 11 Academy Awards and holds the current record of the most Oscars won by the single film with James Cameron’s Titanic and William Wyler‘s Ben-Hur, which also won 11 Oscars. Return of the King was also the first fantasy film ever that won an Academy Award for Best Director.

Now we can only ponder the question: What If The Beatles made The Lord of the Rings movie in 1968?

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