Lord of the Rumors: Universal Planning a 'Middle Earth' Expansion to Their Theme Park?
Universal is going to be a very sad panda when Disney finally gets the rights back to build Marvel attractions in Florida. Perhaps because of this, it looks like Universal is looking to expand its attractions with a very different set of blockbuster movies. According to an anonymous source, Universal and Warner Bros. may have already approached the Tolkien estate about bringing Middle Earth to the Islands of Adventure.
A reputable user at the Orlando United forum was the one leaked the idea. According to him, Universal Studios asked WB to open a dialogue with the Tolkien estate, and present some early ideas. WB apparently pointed to Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the set of attractions based on the book and film series, and how faithful they were in recreating Rowling's vision. The Tolkiens in turn reportedly spoke to Rowling herself, and liked what they heard.
At this point, absolutely nothing has been confirmed by Universal, Warner Bros, or the Tolkiens, so it's 100% still in rumor territory. Still, with the massive and continued success of the franchise, it's an idea that makes a lot of sense. If it does come to pass though, we're a few years out from seeing it at a minimum, as they've got a ways to go before even breaking ground on the new attractions.
It's a very exciting idea though, and one that could easily fit into the theme of Universal's Orlando park. Between this and the Avatar-themed attractions at Disney World, there's going to be a whole lot more to do in Florida in a few years.