When the extended ROTK dvd had been released and, later, the 3 LOTR Special Editions, I consoled myself with thoughts of PJ's oft-repeated promise of an "ultimate, super-duper box set" which would be crammed full of goodies including all the gag reels and outtakes and possibly audition tapes. But more recently, hearing of all the troubles with New Line and seeing PJ become so engrossed in other film-making, my hopes had begun to fade. With the release of the theatrical versions on Blu-Ray - with exactly the same appendices as the originals - my hopes plummeted to zero. PJ had already given us so much - I decided I must just treasure that and not be greedy. But today, the flame of hope has been rekindled. In an article posted on theonering.net, Michael Pellerin (dvd producer) talks of a "feature-length documetary by PJ" detailing the creation of LOTR chronologically; "very funny, off the wall stuff; anecdotes; shenanigans on and off screen;; "practical jokes, the gag and outtakes reels (which are myriad)"; "stories only people who were there know about". OH PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!
However, it seem that still there is no certainty about this. As he says "it still remains on the 'to do' list until the studio decides its time". But it is wonderful to at least know that it's a real possibility again. You can read all of what he said about it
Extended Editions, the Ultimate Box Set and the Future
Peter and I began talking about LOTR on HD as far back as 2001 - during the making of the films. As we knew the film would eventually be released in some yet-to-be-determined HD format, we began planning The Lord of the Rings HD Box Set from the very beginning, nearly a decade ago.
Our idea was to think and plan ahead, and actually set aside some of our best ideas and materials specifically for those future releases. In other words, studios are going to probably release a film on video iteratively anyway. Given that's an immutable fact, if you're going to ask the consumers to buy the title again - why not plan ahead to make it a real event with brand new, compelling content? As opposed to being left with having to scrape together meager bonus materials on a future re-release of a title.
Besides, we didn't even have the room to fit everything on the original releases anyway. Truth be told, even with the six Appendices discs on the original Extended Edition DVDs, which we packed to capacity with content, we knew there would be a lot of material we just could not fit onto the original DVDs. So we purposefully held back some of the best stuff for later use. Every idea we had, Peter vetted and was placed into one of two categories: 1) Stuff to put it on the Extended Edition DVDs - or 2) Stuff saved for the HD Box Set.
We had made a very conscious decision to make everything on the original Appendices Supplemental discs very specifically about the technical process of making the three films, as told by the many, many voices of the people who made them. Therefore, anything that was not specific to that goal, or approach, we saved for the Box Set.
What kind of stuff?
One of the crown jewels was to be Peter's documentary. Peter had always talked about creating his own feature-length documentary, that tells the whole process of creating LOTR chronologically, from his - the filmmaker's - point of view: what he was thinking and why he made decisions, and inviting us to walk with him on that journey, from beginning to end.
We also wanted to present the lighter side of LOTR as well - the experience of living, working and breathing The Lord of the Rings for the better part of 10 years. Very funny, very off the wall stuff, to be sure: Lots of anecdotes; shenanigans on and off screen; practical jokes, the gag and outtakes reels (which are myriad), and the stories only people who were there know about. Much of it was captured on tape and film, and we got everyone to sit down and tell those stories during the making of the films, while they still remembered them.
We wanted to finally get around to telling the incredible story of the long road how these films got off the ground in the first place. That and other stories that were too politically sensitive at the time to tell.
We had planned actual new narrative content, with new production, which I can't comment too much on at this point - but it presents exciting possibilities, to be sure.
We had also designed a few things you could only really do given some distance from the film over the years.
These are just a few examples, but eventually, this amassed into about 20 hours of ideas, and material we set aside for the Box Set to create this whole other experience someday. Over the years, Peter has mentioned the Box Set in various interviews, on the DVDs, in the media and to the fans - but as of yet, it still remains in the "to do" list, until the studio decides it's time.
There has been a lot of interest in the release of the Extended Editions on BD, but right now, there honestly isn't anything to discuss. WHV is just concentrating on the theatrical releases at this point. What I do hope is that fans will eventually get to see the rest of the story on the Box Set - as it would be nice for it to see the light of day, to see it done and finally out in the world and on the shelf.
Los Angeles - April 2010
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