Tolkien trailer teases how World War I shaped Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest fantasy novels of the 20th century, and certainly among the most influential. Even today, the stories of Middle-earth continue to shape pop culture thanks to the saga’s film adaptations and posthumously published books. But despite the elves, hobbits, and other fantastical creatures that dominate the stories, they are all rooted in the books’ real-life author, J.R.R. Tolkien. The first trailer for Tolkien, the upcoming biopic starring Nicholas Hoult, shows how some of the events in the author’s life would go on to shape his beloved books.

In the trailer, Edith (Lily Collins) asks Tolkien to tell her a story. The description he comes up with should be familiar to any fan of The Lord of the Rings: It’s a story “about journeys,” “about fellowship,” and “magic beyond anything anyone has ever felt before.” In montage, we see the moments from his life that would form the inspiration for Middle-earth. We see Edith dancing in a forest, very similar to the first appearance of the beautiful maid Luthien in The Silmarillion. We see the smoking battlefields of World War I, and how similar they seem to the fiery hell of Mordor. Then at the end, when the movie title appears on screen, the “o” in Tolkien moves through the air just like a ring.

Tolkien is set to hit theaters May 10. Watch the trailer above.

Related content: 

  • See Nicholas Hoult as Lord of the Rings author in new Tolkien biopic photos 
  • How J.R.R. Tolkien’s last great tale The Fall of Gondolin came together 

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