Rumor has it that Universal Studios is planning a Tolkien Middle-Earth theme park much like the Warner Brothers The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At this stage the word is that Universal, Warner Brothers and the Tolkien estate are in the beginning stages of talks. /Film reports:
The Tolkien estate has always carefully guarded the LOTR rights and it is interesting that it is also being reported that the Tolkien estate representatives spoke with J.K. Rowling herself about the Warner Brothers theme park creation and her experiences protecting her vision for the project, and apparently liked what they heard. Universal then got in contact with the Tolkiens to discuss their ideas.
That’s pretty exciting news if accurate. Fans wouldn’t have to travel half way across the world to get that Tolkien itch scratched. What do you think, would a LOTR themed park work? Is it just a much more expensive Medieval Times Diner theater?
Rumor Control: Universal’s ‘Jaws’ Ride to Be Replaced With ‘Harry Potter’s’ London, Diagon Alley and The Hogwarts Express
Universal Studios will be a bit less “Wet and wild” after news surfaced that they will be shutting down the long running Jaws attraction (blasphemy, I know). The ride will close January 2, 2012 for the construction of an upcoming new attraction. Most people, ourselves included, are speculating that with the removal of the iconic sharks comes the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into Universal.
There may be a bit of truth to the rumors, as a recent quote from Comcast CFO Mike Angelakis that called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a “reset mechanism” for their parks. Here’s a sample:
If my various sources are correct, the Amity / Jaws area will be replaced by the proposed Phase 2 expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now, before you flip out… lets go over it all, because for starters this really isn’t going to be the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at all. Instead, from what I’ve been able to gather, the new land to be build in Universal Studios Florida will actually represent the “London” side of the PotterVerse… including an entrance to the infamous Diagon Alley.
Diagon Alley, as seen in the movies, is home to infamous locations such as The Leaky Cauldron, Gringott’s Wizarding Bank and the true Ollivanders wand shop location, as seen in the films. The London location is also said to be home to King’s Cross station, where students would board the Hogwarts Express train from Platform 9 ¾.
Many of these locations have been mentioned in the rumored development plans for Phase 2 of the Wizarding World for months now, including an innovative indoor dark coaster ride said to take place inside Gringott’s Wizarding Bank. It’s no secret that the Wizarding World has been popular…so much so that it needed to be expanded to spread out the crowds, and come up with a way to provide new locations for guests to buy Butterbeer, Ollivanders wands and more. But it seems that Universal Creative really decided to try a new idea… and think really outside the box this time. Literally… because this new expansion is going to allow for guests in both parks to get a taste of the PotterVerse… but to get the ENTIRE experience, you’d going to have to have a 2-park ticket.
So this is where their going to get you. Instead of paying one ticket, for a day full of wand fiddling, you have to pay what will probably be double the admission for half the enjoyment. Now that’s some true magic Universal.
Of course, fans of the J.K. Rowlings franchise will pay out the magic hole to experience Harry’s world, even if it’s filled with hipsters dressed in a Hogwarts uniform. With a rumored 2014 opening date for this potential area, expect an official announcement soon. Shark looked fake anyway.
While J.K Rowling has mentioned before that she could defintely see herself writing another Harry Potter book one day, but no time soon. On the Oprah show Friday she had a lot more to say:
“I could definitely write an eighth, ninth, tenth. I’m not going to say I won’t. I don’t think I will … I feel I am done, but you never know.”
It sounds to me like Rowling is just spouting bullshit. Personally, with all the hype and excitement around the last film being released in an epic two part conclusion, it seems like a poor idea to say that there will “potentially” be more books. Part of the joy of the experience is being taken away from us. Knowing that something we think is ending we’re so emotionally invested in makes it feel cheap for Rowling to just say, “Okay, here’s some more”. Is Rowling just being a money grubbing witch or would there be some real value and validity in continuing the series? My only concern is that people would be tired of the franchise and exhausted of having it shoved down their throats. I mean it has a theme park, come on man! Check out Rowling on Oprah after the jump.