Monday, January 7, 2013

Rumor: Middle Earth theme park to open soon?

Good news for those who've longed to visit Middle Earth but don't have the money to afford a plane ticket to New Zealand: Soon, getting *super* high and watching The Fellowship of the Ring won't be the only way for you to set foot in Tolkien's fantasy world!

At least, that's the rumor according to the Universal Studios theme park forums. Spurred on by the stratospheric success of Harry Potter World The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios has allegedly approached the Tolkien family with talks to open a Lord of the Rings theme park to help fans experience the epic glory (and epic commercialism) of the movies.

Even if the rumor proves true, however, the odds of this happening (let alone any time soon) are slimmer than a Balrog's chance on the bridge of Khazad-dûm: the Tolkien family is notoriously tight with the rights to anything not covered by the film agreements.  They're extremely unlikely to part with filming rights to The Silmarillion, let alone give their blessing to a giant theme park built around the movies which they aren't too crazy about to begin with.

In the hole in the ground lived a gift shop...

Still, there's no doubt that the park will be successful if it ever opens.  A combination movie/ride experience for The Battle of Helm's Deep or the flight from Moria would be beyond awesome - and Balin's Tomb would make for a pretty sweet underground gift shop/gelato café.  Hell, they could sell churros as lembas bread and fanboys would gladly shell out $10 a pop for one of those sugary confections (myself, certainly, among them).

But before hopes run too high, however, fans can be sure of two things: Should this theme park open, it won't cut into New Zealand tourism any (being in the actual Shire is pretty awesome - especially now that you can drink at The Green Dragon) and the lines in the theme park will be stupidly long for the past two years.

On the plus side, fans turned away from visiting The Middling World of Middle Earth at Universal Studios can look forward to park employees doning their best white beards and shouting "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" as they try to sneak into the over-capacity attractions.