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Old 09-23-2019, 08:04 AM
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Why has Middle Earth not gained/held the same cultural cachet that Star Wars has?


My main barometer here is the amount of bumper stickers and tee shirts seen. For Star Wars I see these kinds of things all the time.

But for Middle Earth, I see nada. Yeah, SW is in the middle of their current trilogy, while the final Hobbit film came out 5 years ago, sure. But even during the runs of the original ME trilogies I didn't see much in the way of tees and such. I'd say I see more Harry Potter than ME stuff in point of fact...

But-in the 60's JRRT was a real big thing, esp. among the counterculture.

Any rationales, or am I just overanalysing?
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:10 AM
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Maybe The Hobbit is a juvenile fantasy, while Star Wars is a mature fantasy?
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:13 AM
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Surely you are not saying that oversaturation of obnoxious merchandising is the sole yardstick for measuring cultural cachet?
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:13 AM
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I'd say both are a mixture. Keeping in mind that everyone can like anything, Episodes 1, 2, and 4 are juvenile while the others are more mature, and The Hobbit is juvenile while LotR is mature.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:14 AM
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Because the Star Wars movies were actually entertaining?
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:16 AM
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George Lucas kept the merchandising rights to Star Wars when he made that first movie. He merchandised the hell out of it, and it made him rich. Merchandising has always been a huge part of Star Wars.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:41 AM
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I think that's kind of like asking why Michael Jackson was more popular than Led Zeppelin. Tolkien is a lot more for a niche audience who is into medieval/British style imagery.

Last edited by LC Strawhouse; 09-23-2019 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:50 AM
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:55 AM
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From the day George Lucas realized Star Wars was a hit merchandising has a been a heavy influence, if not the main driving force of the entire franchise. The Tolkiens on the other hand have strongly resisted any attempts to capitalize on the popularity of the books and mostly regretted the things they did allow.

Last edited by DigitalC; 09-23-2019 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:32 AM
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From the day George Lucas realized Star Wars was a hit merchandising has a been a heavy influence, if not the main driving force of the entire franchise. The Tolkiens on the other hand have strongly resisted any attempts to capitalize on the popularity of the books and mostly regretted the things they did allow.
Agreed.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:41 AM
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I'm not sure that measuring 'cultural cachet' by bumper stickers and t-shirts is a little off. I believe LOTR has more general cultural references that aren't just shirts/stickers that say 'I am a fan of this property'. For example, Fantasy Role-Playing games (including computer versions) draw on LOTR a lot for their background, races, and storylines. While there have been a number of successful Star Wars games (including computer versions), it doesn't have a huge influence on non-branded games the way that you have 'Halflings' and 'Balors' as direct rips and Tolkien style elves and dwarves in D&D and its derivatives and 'inspired bys'. Similarly while Star Wars does have a few song references, I believe there are significantly more LOTR references in songs, they're all over the place in 70s 'stoner-approved bands' like Led Zeppelin. Fantasy books also have large amounts of Tolkien homages, inspired-bys, and clones, while there really isn't as much of that for Star Wars in science fiction.

Star Wars is a bigger property with stronger, centralized merchandising so it's not surprising that you see direct references to it more, but LOTR seems to have broader and deeper cultural influence that doesn't mention it by name.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:45 AM
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I would argue that LotR had greater cultural significance than Star Wars, even if it hasn't been merchandised as much. It pretty much popularized an entire new genre of literature, "fantasy", which had previously been pretty much just fairy tales for kids and some obscure stuff, and is now a major industry, alongside mysteries, romance novels, science fiction, westerns (which arguable includes Star Wars), thrillers, etc.

Star wars was an extremely popular space opera, entertaining and well-done, but there were lots of space operas before it, and I don't think it changed the genre in any important way.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:51 AM
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I would fight the premise that Middle Earth didn't have its day in the cultural sun. During the run of the LotR trilogy and even for a few years after, shirts with Elvish script were pretty common, replica swords and daggers were for sale in every mall kitsch store, and there were toys and board games released. And the movies themselves were a big darn deal, with tons of marketing tie-ins and huge DVD sales. For a while, I think the pop culture cachet of LotR WAS bigger than Star Wars, especially since Star Wars was in a slump following the prequels.

But...the LotR trilogy ended over fifteen years ago. And I think there were two major events that kinda killed off its pop culture presence. First, the Hobbit movies came out and were soundly mediocre. Watchable, but completely lacking the depth or charm of the LotR trilogy. Second, Game of Thrones released and became the new dominant fantasy property. Fantasy geeks didn't want shirts with the Eye of Sauron anymore, they wanted shirts with Westeros house sigils.

There's several reasons Star Wars has a bigger cachet. First off, it's still a going concern, and it doesn't have a closed canon -- they can keep expanding the property with new canon characters and events. And even during its hiatus, there was still a lot of new content being created with things like novels and the animated TV shows. It's also been effectively the only major game in town if you like space opera since its inception.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:53 AM
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LotR was the "Star Wars" of the 60s and early 70s. It was very popular even when I was in college in the mid-80s, but it wasn't nearly as accessible to the masses as Star Wars. You mostly had to read LotR, and the book is not easy reading. Star Wars was more visual, and therefore easier to digest on a large scale.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:29 AM
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1 - LOTR is pretentious as fuck making it very inaccessible to casual fans
2 - Game of Thrones supplanted LOTR as the dominant swords and sorcery fantasy story
3 - Star Wars is closer to a comic book than a well written piece of literature which makes it more accessible to the casual fan
4 - Laser swords, force chokes and the ability to mind fuck people vs. a ring that the good guys don't want to use (and nobody really seems to know how to use anyway)

For the casual fan, Star Wars wins in a route.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DigitalC View Post
From the day George Lucas realized Star Wars was a hit merchandising has a been a heavy influence, if not the main driving force of the entire franchise. The Tolkiens on the other hand have strongly resisted any attempts to capitalize on the popularity of the books and mostly regretted the things they did allow.
Thirded.

Selling merchandise has been one of the central pillars of the Star Wars franchise. It's a secondary priority in most franchises. So no surprise Star Wars sells more merchandise than Lord of the Rings or Star Trek or the MCU or Harry Potter.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 09-23-2019 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:01 PM
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Maybe The Hobbit is a juvenile fantasy, while Star Wars is a mature fantasy?
That's exactly the opposite of how I would've pegged it. But I prefer Star Wars because I find it more a juvenile fantasy. Never gave a shit or could give a shit about LOTR.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:07 PM
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That's exactly the opposite of how I would've pegged it. But I prefer Star Wars because I find it more a juvenile fantasy. Never gave a shit or could give a shit about LOTR.
The Hobbit is juvenile fantasy, deliberately so. It was originally written for a younger audience. But I agree that Lords of the Rings on the other hand is more mature fantasy. The Silmarillion is elderly fantasy .

Last edited by Tamerlane; 09-23-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:12 PM
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From the day George Lucas realized Star Wars was a hit merchandising has a been a heavy influence, if not the main driving force of the entire franchise. The Tolkiens on the other hand have strongly resisted any attempts to capitalize on the popularity of the books and mostly regretted the things they did allow.
This. The Star Wars universe was created by a marketing genius. And the period of the original trilogy was just a prelude--the main merchandising began in the early 1990s. This many books. This many video games. This many comic book series (plus a daily newspaper strip that ran for years.)
LotR, on the other hand, is almost entirely limited to the original books and the fairly recent movies. And until those movies, the books were pretty obscure. Remember the episode of Friends where they had to explain what the name "Gandolf" meant--then mock anyone who knew it? That was 1997.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:18 PM
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There's several reasons Star Wars has a bigger cachet. First off, it's still a going concern, and it doesn't have a closed canon -- they can keep expanding the property with new canon characters and events. And even during its hiatus, there was still a lot of new content being created with things like novels and the animated TV shows. It's also been effectively the only major game in town if you like space opera since its inception.
I think it's the closed canon that is the reason. With Star Wars, there's been ebbs and flows in both the movies and the merchandising (do you remember much Star Wars stuff on the shelves in say... 1992? I don't either.), but they've come out with ten movies in the universe, four of which have been since 2015, and several animated backstory series.

Contrast this with the output of a writer who died in 1973, and who only really wrote five books in the LOTR universe (Hobbit, the 3 LOTR books, and the Silmarillion). It's seminal stuff and terrific, but very constrained and well known. I mean, they're going to have to start digging for more obscure stuff like the Fall of Numenor, and flesh it out with a lot of non-Tolkien stuff if anyone wants to make movies from it.

Meanwhile, Star Wars is kind of a blank canvas where anything goes.

Last edited by bump; 09-23-2019 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:21 PM
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I would argue that LotR had greater cultural significance than Star Wars, even if it hasn't been merchandised as much. It pretty much popularized an entire new genre of literature, "fantasy", which had previously been pretty much just fairy tales for kids and some obscure stuff, and is now a major industry, alongside mysteries, romance novels, science fiction, westerns (which arguable includes Star Wars), thrillers, etc.
Not to mention Roleplaying games, becuase D&D had many roots in LotR.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:59 PM
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Tolkien published three Middle-earth works during his lifetime: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, besides a little non-Middle-earth fantasy fiction. (Not counting his in-depth annotations on Galadriel's song "Namárië" in the form of an essay, published in The Road Goes Ever On: A Song Cycle.)

The Silmarillion was compiled by Christopher Tolkien, who didn't stop there. Christopher has kept on editing and publishing his father's unpublished Middle-earth manuscripts ever since. There's Unfinished Tales, the 12-volume History of Middle-earth, The Children of Húrin, and what-all. For those who really want to dig deep, Christopher has populated a whole library shelf out of the writings his dad left.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:38 PM
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My main barometer here is the amount of bumper stickers and tee shirts seen. For Star Wars I see these kinds of things all the time.
If that's your barometer, then I suppose you might be on target.

But just look at what LotR has done: nearly every single fantasy book, movie, RPG and video game owes directly to LotR. It single-handedly defined a genre's substance and style. "Orcs" are from LotR. Dungeons & Dragons wouldn't exist without LotR. EverQuest and World of Warcraft wouldn't exist without LotR. MOBA games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, etc. are directly descended from LotR.

And fans of those things know what the source was. LotR, IIRC, is 2nd only to the Bible with more than 150,000,000 copies sold.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:51 PM
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The Hobbit is juvenile fantasy, deliberately so. It was originally written for a younger audience. But I agree that Lords of the Rings on the other hand is more mature fantasy. The Silmarillion is elderly fantasy .
Unsurprisingly, the Hobbit is all the Tolkien I’ve ever been able to get through (and I read it in my 20s).
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:52 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...million_copies
Yes, looks like you are right; the Hobbit is #6 as well.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:05 PM
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The Hobbit is a fairy tale, written to entertain children.
Lord of the Rings is an adventure story, written to entertain adults.
The Silmarillion is written to entertain ivory-tower academics.


(Don't get me wrong. I love The Silmarillion. But it takes an effort to get through the first couple of readings.)
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:09 PM
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The Hobbit is a fairy tale, written to entertain children.
Lord of the Rings is an adventure story, written to entertain adults.
The Silmarillion is written to entertain ivory-tower academics.


(Don't get me wrong. I love The Silmarillion. But it takes an effort to get through the first couple of readings.)
And, The Silmarillion really isn't a story -- it's somewhere between a history book about a fantasy realm, and an anthology of semi-related stories. (I say this, as I'm about to embark on re-reading The Silmarillion for the sixth or seventh time. )

Overall, I agree with what's been said already -- Star Wars is more accessible to more people, *and* Lucas single-handledly redefined movie tie-in merchandising. But, even if many people don't directly know Middle-Earth as well as they do Star Wars, Tolkien's works really shaped the modern fantasy genre, and were a huge influence on a lot of things that followed.

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Old 09-23-2019, 04:10 PM
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In addition to the merchandise (or perhaps part of it?), it is easier to put yourself into the Star Wars universe (or Harry Potter). The vast majority of characters, including main characters, are humanoid. The main characters in LOTR are hobbits and while there are humans, humanish elves, and wizards, I think being able to picture oneself more easily as a Jedi has helped matters a lot when it comes to Star Wars.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:22 PM
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If that's your barometer, then I suppose you might be on target.

But just look at what LotR has done: nearly every single fantasy book, movie, RPG and video game owes directly to LotR. It single-handedly defined a genre's substance and style. "Orcs" are from LotR. Dungeons & Dragons wouldn't exist without LotR. EverQuest and World of Warcraft wouldn't exist without LotR. MOBA games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, etc. are directly descended from LotR.

And fans of those things know what the source was. LotR, IIRC, is 2nd only to the Bible with more than 150,000,000 copies sold.
I was actually going to post something similar. I think it's because much of Middle Earth is heavily borrowed from Medieval European folklore, fashion, culture and military combined with the fact that it has influenced nearly every pre-industrial fantasy universe for the past 50+ years has made it almost ubiquitous. Like you would be hard pressed to find a fantasy story that didn't have some version of "orcs", "goblins", "dragons", "elves", "dwarfs", and associated anachronistic arms, armor and architecture.

In contrast, no one had seen anything like Star Wars when it came out. And much of the sci fi that has come out since is often viewed as an inferior imitator of Star Wars.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:24 PM
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In addition to the merchandise (or perhaps part of it?), it is easier to put yourself into the Star Wars universe (or Harry Potter). The vast majority of characters, including main characters, are humanoid. The main characters in LOTR are hobbits and while there are humans, humanish elves, and wizards, I think being able to picture oneself more easily as a Jedi has helped matters a lot when it comes to Star Wars.
Only picture Jedi as human do you?
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:07 PM
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Just skimmed the thread and this is probably redundant, but I think the reasons are pretty clear.

1. Barrier to entry - Star Wars was originally a 3 movie franchise that was tailored to teen/pre-teen audiences. It was basically crack cocaine to any grade-schooler with a passing interest in sci-fi/fantasy. The Hobbit and LotR were very long books written with a pretty sophisticated prose and a bunch of made-up languages. Not exactly catnip to those kids who viewed all reading as homework.

2. Timing - The Hobbit was published in 1937. LotR in 1954. Star Wars came out in 1977-1984. Few people are still alive who remember the first run of the Hobbit. Gen Xers and Gen Yers who grew up on Star Wars are having kids now and spoon feeding them all the Star Wars stuff they can, mostly because they want an excuse to enjoy it themselves.

3. Merch - Lucas and Star Wars basically invented cross-promotions and merchandising. Everything from toys, to games, to fast food cups, to cereals to clothing. Shit has been everywhere pretty much constantly since the 1980s. Middle Earth is great, and if you loved D&D you probably feel like it's been a cultural pillar for a long time, but it's always been very niche in comparison. Before Peter Jackson you really couldn't find a T-shirt or a toy that directly referenced Tolkein's works, in the 80s and 90s Middle Earth was totally overshadowed by D&D and a dozen other proprietary videogame worlds like Hyrule and Frobozz. Star Wars as a brand is basically Nike.

4. Relevance - this one is probably a little fuzzier, but part of what made Star Wars so important is the Space Race and Computers. Both are so integral to the last few generations, every kid at some point wanted to be an astronaut. Not many wanted to ride horses and swing swords. The tech at the center of Star Wars looks like a not-do-distance reality to a lot of kids. Middle Earth, looks like a step backwards in time, a concept that's always more appealing to older generations.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:42 PM
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I was actually going to post something similar. I think it's because much of Middle Earth is heavily borrowed from Medieval European folklore, fashion, culture and military combined with the fact that it has influenced nearly every pre-industrial fantasy universe for the past 50+ years has made it almost ubiquitous. Like you would be hard pressed to find a fantasy story that didn't have some version of "orcs", "goblins", "dragons", "elves", "dwarfs", and associated anachronistic arms, armor and architecture.
That's... really, really easy to do. Just as a starting point, take a look at this list of fifty fantasy-themed television shows. The only really Tolkien-esque fantasy shows on there are Game of Thrones, The Witcher, and Matt Groening's Disenchanted. Everything else is urban and/or horror fantasy.

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In contrast, no one had seen anything like Star Wars when it came out. And much of the sci fi that has come out since is often viewed as an inferior imitator of Star Wars.
Star Wars was consciously created as a pastiche of the Buck Rogers serials George Lucas grew up on. He brought an unparalleled technical sophistication to it, but the heavy nostalgia hook was a big part of its initial marketing and critical buzz. And even as far as f/x goes, 2001 had already shown what was possible with the new state-of-the-art effects.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:59 PM
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Star Wars was consciously created as a pastiche of the Buck Rogers serials George Lucas grew up on. He brought an unparalleled technical sophistication to it, but the heavy nostalgia hook was a big part of its initial marketing and critical buzz.
In fact, Lucas's original idea was to do an adaptation/update of the Flash Gordon serials, but when he wasn't able to get the rights to it, he created his own milieu.

But, if Lucas's primary inspirations had been the sci-fi serials (along with splashes of Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces, as well as The Searchers and Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress), Tolkien's primary inspirations included various mythologies (particularly Norse and German), epic poetry such as Beowulf, and Catholic theology. It's the difference between a filmmaker and a professor of language and literature.
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:06 PM
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Just skimmed the thread and this is probably redundant, but I think the reasons are pretty clear.

1. Barrier to entry - Star Wars was originally a 3 movie franchise that was tailored to teen/pre-teen audiences. It was basically crack cocaine to any grade-schooler with a passing interest in sci-fi/fantasy. The Hobbit and LotR were very long books written with a pretty sophisticated prose and a bunch of made-up languages. Not exactly catnip to those kids who viewed all reading as homework.
1(a). Time investment - Star Wars movies require just 2-2.5 hours to watch each of them; the whole series including the Han Solo movie can be viewed in under 24 hours. All that is required is to sit still and look at the screen.

LotR, OTOH, is a huge undertaking, even for people who like to read. It requires an active effort to read each of the 481,103 words (plus The Hobbit's 95,356 words) and for many, many people that's a daunting task.

Even watching the LotR movies is a much bigger task than watching the Star Wars movies. The 3 films as released theatrically are almost 10 hours long; the extended cuts are almost 11.5 hours long. Add another 3 hours for The Hobbit and you're at 14.5 hours for just 4 films, vs. 22.5 hours for 10 Star Wars movies.

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Old 09-23-2019, 06:17 PM
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In fact, Lucas's original idea was to do an adaptation/update of the Flash Gordon serials, but when he wasn't able to get the rights to it, he created his own milieu.
I meant Flash Gordon, not Buck Rodgers.
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:59 PM
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Even watching the LotR movies is a much bigger task than watching the Star Wars movies. The 3 films as released theatrically are almost 10 hours long; the extended cuts are almost 11.5 hours long. Add another 3 hours for The Hobbit and you're at 14.5 hours for just 4 films, vs. 22.5 hours for 10 Star Wars movies.
3 hours for The Hobbit? Try nearly 8. There were three Hobbit films -- An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies -- which clocked in at 2:49, 2:41, and 2:24 in their theatrical releases.

(One factor in my dislike of the Hobbit films was just how much additional material -- beyond both what was in the original book, as well as in Tolkien's related writings -- was created in order to pad it out to get to three films.)

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Old 09-23-2019, 08:05 PM
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Simple.

LOTR was a book franchise.

SW was a movie franchise.

More people go to the movies than read books.

LOTR was a very successful book series, but fewer people have read it than the number of people who have seen Star Wars. By the time the LOTR movie came out, SW had been a well merchandised phenomenon for almost a quarter of a century.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:10 PM
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Star Wars is movies. Lord of the Rings is books. Yeah, there are LotR movies, but they're Lord of the Rings in the same way that Alan Dean Foster's books are Star Wars. And books and movies have always impacted culture in different ways: Not necessarily greater or lesser, but different.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:58 PM
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3 hours for The Hobbit? Try nearly 8. There were three Hobbit films -- An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies -- which clocked in at 2:49, 2:41, and 2:24 in their theatrical releases.

(One factor in my dislike of the Hobbit films was just how much additional material -- beyond both what was in the original book, as well as in Tolkien's related writings -- was created in order to pad it out to get to three films.)


I forgot about the last 2. I thought The Hobbit was horrible and stopped paying attention. Thank you for correcting my error.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:02 PM
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I forgot about the last 2. I thought The Hobbit was horrible and stopped paying attention. Thank you for correcting my error.
Admittedly, after seeing Desolation of Smaug in the theater, I was so disappointed with how one of my favorite stories had been bastardized for the screen, that I have still never seen Battle of the Five Armies.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:38 PM
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3 hours for The Hobbit? Try nearly 8. There were three Hobbit films -- An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies -- which clocked in at 2:49, 2:41, and 2:24 in their theatrical releases.

(One factor in my dislike of the Hobbit films was just how much additional material -- beyond both what was in the original book, as well as in Tolkien's related writings -- was created in order to pad it out to get to three films.)
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Admittedly, after seeing Desolation of Smaug in the theater, I was so disappointed with how one of my favorite stories had been bastardized for the screen, that I have still never seen Battle of the Five Armies.
Guys, guys, we are talking about Middle Earth. Let's not talk about those horrible quasi-hobbit-themed movies.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:00 AM
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Guys, guys, we are talking about Middle Earth. Let's not talk about those horrible quasi-hobbit-themed movies.
I've maintainted that those movies should have been forced to say, in the credits, "Based on a story idea by J.R.R. Tolkien."
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:19 AM
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3 hours for The Hobbit? Try nearly 8. There were three Hobbit films -- An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies -- which clocked in at 2:49, 2:41, and 2:24 in their theatrical releases.

(One factor in my dislike of the Hobbit films was just how much additional material -- beyond both what was in the original book, as well as in Tolkien's related writings -- was created in order to pad it out to get to three films.)
The Rankin-Bass cartoon of The Hobbit is an hour and a half, and IMHO, much more enjoyable than the bloated indulgent slog that the three Hobbit movies are. I still haven't seen the last one, the second one pissed me off so bad.

I wonder if LOTR would have been as popular as Star Wars if the LOTR movies were the first introduction to the universe?

For those of you who've managed to get through The Silmarillion, when does it get good? I've read LOTR, liked it, and I'm used to, say, Stephen King taking the first hundred pages to get going, but I haven't been able to make any headway into the Silmarillion.

EDIT, LOL: I swear I didn't read kenobi's comment about The Desolation of Smaug before writing the above. Hilarious. Albeit it was a really bad movie. I think it was the raft ride through molten gold that exceeded my bullshit tolerance.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 09-24-2019 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:44 AM
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The Rankin-Bass cartoon of The Hobbit is an hour and a half, and IMHO, much more enjoyable than the bloated indulgent slog that the three Hobbit movies are.
That cartoon was my introduction to Middle-Earth, when it originally aired on TV in 1977. I really enjoyed it (but, then, I was 12 ). I've watched it as an adult, and while it's clearly targeted at kids, I think it holds up pretty well.

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I wonder if LOTR would have been as popular as Star Wars if the LOTR movies were the first introduction to the universe?
Only if the LotR films were supported by the level of merchandising that the Star Wars movies were. As noted upthread, it wasn't just the films, it was the toys, and the books, and the comics, and the t-shirts, and the posters...

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For those of you who've managed to get through The Silmarillion, when does it get good? I've read LOTR, liked it, and I'm used to, say, Stephen King taking the first hundred pages to get going, but I haven't been able to make any headway into the Silmarillion.
Certainly, the first sections of The Silmarillion (Ainulindalë and Valaquenta) aren't an easy read, in large part because they're Tolkien's creation myth for Middle-Earth, and descriptions of the Valar and Maiar. Once you get past that, and into the stories about the First Age (the Quenta Silmarillion), I think it starts to read at least a bit more like a traditional novel, though even then, there's a lot of "five pages about this guy, who then dies, and then ten pages about this other guy..."

It's not until a good part of the way through that section that you get to some of what may be the most interesting stories in the book -- Beren and Luthien, and Turin and Tuor.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:56 AM
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That's... really, really easy to do. Just as a starting point, take a look at this list of fifty fantasy-themed television shows. The only really Tolkien-esque fantasy shows on there are Game of Thrones, The Witcher, and Matt Groening's Disenchanted. Everything else is urban and/or horror fantasy.
At this point I think Harry Potter is probably inspiring more fantasy-themed works in television and movies than LOTR. Not that think Potter is better than LOTR it's just had so much more commercial success compared to LOTR. In fact I'd go so far to say Harry Potter is more the fantasy counterpart to Star Wars.

In my opinion: Star Wars = Harry Potter and LOTR = Star Trek.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:59 AM
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That cartoon was my introduction to Middle-Earth, when it originally aired on TV in 1977. I really enjoyed it (but, then, I was 12 )....

...Certainly, the first sections of The Silmarillion (Ainulindalë and Valaquenta) aren't an easy read, in large part because they're Tolkien's creation myth for Middle-Earth, and descriptions of the Valar and Maiar. Once you get past that, and into the stories about the First Age (the Quenta Silmarillion), I think it starts to read at least a bit more like a traditional novel, though even then, there's a lot of "five pages about this guy, who then dies, and then ten pages about this other guy..."

It's not until a good part of the way through that section that you get to some of what may be the most interesting stories in the book -- Beren and Luthien, and Turin and Tuor.
"Where there's a whip [Whoosh-CRACK!], there's a way!" Though I think that was only in the LOTR cartoon.

Thanks for the follow up. I'll try your suggestions for another go at the book. A bunch of people here, whose opinions I respect, rave about the thing. I just could never figure out why they liked it. Maybe this'll be the time I get it?

As to Star Wars, I was too young to remember the buzz about it in theaters, though I do remember the buzz for Empire. I remember reading and thinking about it, and realizing that the first movie is just plain fun. In a way that Fellowship wasn't. I mean, IMHO, Fellowship is the best of the LOTR movies, and it is a fantastic movie, but it's not as 'fun' as Star Wars, or say, Raiders of the Lost Ark were.
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:02 AM
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For those of you who've managed to get through The Silmarillion, when does it get good? I've read LOTR, liked it, and I'm used to, say, Stephen King taking the first hundred pages to get going, but I haven't been able to make any headway into the Silmarillion.
The hardest part of slogging through the Silmarillion is keep straight 10000 names that are all basically the same with minor variations. Especially the Elven names.

To the OP, I think what set Star Wars in the population's mind was that it is not a space/sci fi movie. It is familiar story elements from Westerns and WW2 naval movies that people were already familiar with and loved. It just happened to be set in space which made it new. But the space setting did not prevent you from being able to see yourself as Luke or Leia or Han Solo and relate to the characters.

That and Darth Vader is a total badass in the first three movies. (less so after the prequel disasters)
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:10 AM
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At this point I think Harry Potter is probably inspiring more fantasy-themed works in television and movies than LOTR. Not that think Potter is better than LOTR it's just had so much more commercial success compared to LOTR. In fact I'd go so far to say Harry Potter is more the fantasy counterpart to Star Wars.
What are some Harry Potter inspired works in TV and movies? I'm not a huge HP fan so I probably miss them, but I'm not aware of this trend.
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:11 AM
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At this point I think Harry Potter is probably inspiring more fantasy-themed works in television and movies than LOTR. Not that think Potter is better than LOTR it's just had so much more commercial success compared to LOTR. In fact I'd go so far to say Harry Potter is more the fantasy counterpart to Star Wars.

In my opinion: Star Wars = Harry Potter and LOTR = Star Trek.
Though Harry Potter is slightly starting to wane in public consciousness. Yes, you have the Fantastic Beasts movies and Harry Potter world, but it's far less of a phenomenon and the last Fantastic Beasts movie was the lowest grossing HP film. Even at cons I see far less people cosplaying as Harry Potter folks. There are a ton of people who like to dress up as Jedi (or Stormtroopers) though.

Last edited by ISiddiqui; 09-24-2019 at 09:11 AM.
  #50  
Old 09-24-2019, 09:12 AM
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What are some Harry Potter inspired works in TV and movies? I'm not a huge HP fan so I probably miss them, but I'm not aware of this trend.
One can argue that magic school sort of shows/books take inspiration from HP. "The Magicians" is directly influenced.
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