NEW YORK, April 1, 2002- Today Batman Books proudly announces that they have reached agreement with the Tolkien Estate to authorize a certain major fantasy writer, identified only as T B, to do a 21-book rewrite of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings for a "solid" eight figure advance.
"Thanks to the smash success of Peter Jackson's new film, the Middle Earth franchise is hotter than ever," said Batman editor Daniel Sharcroop. "We felt that now was the perfect time to correct the primary flaw of the original trilogy, which was its extreme brevity.
"Certainly, for its time, the original Lord of the Rings broke new ground in book packaging," said Sharcroop. "Until J.R.R. Tolkien, modern publishers never thought of breaking up a single big novel into three pieces. But today, three books simply aren't enough to satisfy the average reader's appetite for total immersion in an alternate world based loosely on medieval Europe. Fantasy fans expect more, much more, and we're going to give it to them in spades."
According to B, the first book, Escape From the Shire, will be roughly 800 pages long, and cover the first five chapters of The Lord of the Rings (which from now on will be marketed as The Lord of the Rings-TOT, for The Original Trilogy). B said that the additional pages would give him a chance to "flesh out" some of the characters mentioned only in passing, or who were left out of the original trilogy entirely. "Another crying need that has remained unfulfilled up until now is the lack of more characters to market as action figures," said Sharcroop. Co-marketing for Escape From the Shire alone will include no less than 72 new action figures, including every attendee of Bilbo's 111th birthday party, as well as the complete Sackville Baggins.
Another flaw of The Lord of the Rings-TOT was the relative scarcity of magic items to market as accessories. "A magic sword and a magic ring? What kind of woefully under-equipped fantasy expedition is that?" said Sharcroop. "In the new, improved series, every single character will have their own magic item, weapon, and piece of clothing, though most will be sold separately."
Though not all volumes had been outlined, B indicated that some future books had already been named. "In the Mines of Moria and The Battle of Helms Deep are two that we know for sure," he said. "It's going to be exactly like the original books, only with a lot more sex," said B, who indicated that Frodo would be meet an elvish girlfriend in Rivendale. "And much, much longer."
Sharcroop indicated that the new books would also form the basis of their own media tie-in deals, including a TV series, That Darn Hobbit, currently being pitched to the WB. "When you're talking about a steamroller media franchise, the sky's the limit."
"This seemed like the best way to keep my father's legacy alive," said a representative of the Tolkien estate, "especially since I've run out of his notes, rough drafts, outlines, fragments, fragments of rough draft outlines, and laundry lists to publish." The spokesman also said that T B was the perfect collaborator for the project. "We had considered T G for the job, but finally decided to go with B due to his proven track record at slavishly imitating my father's work. Thanks to this deal, that work will be made even more accessible to a whole new generation of fantasy readers. Plus it will earn me a gigantic wad of cash."
Batman and the Tolkien estate are also finalizing a deal with supra-major fantasy author R J to do a 75 book rewrite of The Silmarillion.