The New Lord Of The Rings Movie Will Explore Gollum's Psychology

How do you craft an entirely new story about a character that we've seen depicted throughout one of the most famous movie trilogies of all time — especially when one of those movies already laid out his origin story in its opening 10 minutes? Since I'm not a studio executive desperate to keep one of their biggest cash cows going with the recently-announced "The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum" film, I'm in the fortunate position of not having to be the one to provide answers to such burning questions. But for those with much more personal stakes involved in this unexpected new journey, namely producer Peter Jackson and returning star-turned-director Andy Serkis, this conundrum only made them all the more excited to sink their teeth into the IP's biggest live-action project since "The Hobbit" trilogy.

Only days after the news first broke and incited all sorts of breathless speculation among fans, the main decision makers are speaking up to clear the air about exactly what fans can expect from a "Gollum" movie. While talking to Deadline, Jackson and Serkis offered up their thoughts on a concept that is still in its very early stages of development. That means specific details remain hard to come by, but the two at least provide some intriguing hints in the broadest of strokes. For one thing, Jackson reassures fans that they'll be taking their cues from the best possible source:

"We really want to explore [Gollum's] backstory and delve into those parts of his journey we didn't have time to cover in the earlier films. It's too soon to know who will cross his path, but suffice to say we will take our lead from Professor Tolkien."

While the "backstory" quote may raise eyebrows, it appears Gollum's "psychology" will take center stage.

Why make a Gollum movie now?

There's no denying that even Peter Jackson's original trilogy only scratched the surface of J.R.R. Tolkien's books, but is there really that much more to be mined from the source material with regards to Gollum? We attempted to answer that very question in our own breakdown for /News, but that's precisely what returning writer Philippa Boyens, co-writer of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies (along with Fran Walsh, who'll also help pen the script for the "Gollum" film), hopes to address this time around.

In fact, this particular tale was always at the top of the list for Boyens if she ever came back to this sandbox. As she told Deadline, "Gollum's story is one of the most compelling to us in terms of a character that we couldn't go as deeply into as we wanted to before ... Gollum's life span takes place in such an interesting period of Middle-earth. When the question was first asked, this was the first story we thought of." That's all well and good, but there's also the billion-dollar oliphaunt in the room: How will this measure up to the heights of what came before? According to Boyens, this new film simply must stand on its own:

"...what we don't want this film to be is just the fourth film in the trilogy. This film has to work in its own way. And that's our job. That's what we are going to have to be able to do. I know there's plenty of people out there who will be like, 'Oh no, why are they doing this? Why are they going back in?' Well, that's our job. Our job is going to have to be to prove why we think that it's a good idea."

The Hunt for Gollum will explore his psychology

At his core, Gollum was just a funny little guy who enjoyed raw fish and had fine taste in jewelry. He didn't do anything wrong! Okay, that might be a slight oversimplification of a character with far more layers than audiences may have first assumed, but apparently there's even more complexity and nuance hiding in that bald head of his yet to be uncovered. Whatever the case may be, we can expect this story to have director Andy Serkis' fingerprints all over it. After mentioning that the character of Gollum has always remained near and dear to his heart over the decades, Serkis told Deadline exactly how he intends to approach such a memorable figure in Middle-earth lore ... all while making this feel unique within the overall franchise:

"It's absolutely thrilling to be able to go back and do a deep dive into his world again, and specifically into [Gollum's] psychology. I know we're all interested in investigating on a deeper level who that character is, and on top of that, to be able to direct and hopefully create a film which has its place within the canon, but also something that's fresh and new and a different approach."

Based on Serkis' work on the underappreciated "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle" and even "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" (not to mention his second-unit directing on "The Hobbit" trilogy), the actor and filmmaker appears ready to take the next step with his biggest and most daunting production yet. Even if some purists might feel a certain amount of skepticism about this approach to new "The Lord of the Rings" movies, Serkis is clearly following his own vision.

"The Hunt for Gollum" is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2026.