Some things get a little better when you think about them for a little bit.
This ain’t one of them.
Whenever you are surveying the smoldering wreckage of a horrifying man-made disaster, the same questions are always asked. How was this allowed to happen? Wasn’t it someone’s job to prevent this? Was it a deliberate act of sabotage? How is the richest man in the world this fucking stupid?
These are all valid, simple questions with complicated answers. Which I shall endeavor to answer for you…
The secret to the Bad Reboot school’s success is a combination of an established reputation for success, superb salesmanship (I have to give them that), and a mastery of studio politics as well as fashionable politics in general. Additionally, Bad Reboot skillfully manages its relations with the press. Finally, the disciples of Abrams rigidly follow their business model and always get out before the burning building collapses on top of them. If they were trying to make anything good, I could admire the professionalism.
The fundamental problem is that they don’t know how to make anything good. It’s like cotton candy, it looks big and smells great but once you take a bite the only thing you have in your mouth is empty sugary grit. If you are only trying to grind out pablum like summer tentpoles then that is good enough. Honestly, most fandoms really do only want that, just consume product and get excited for the next project.
Tolkien fans aren’t remotely like that. The magnitude of this disaster would have been manageable if they had just invented their own IP that kind of looked like Tolkien. But as it is, they put The Lord of the Rings label on this, so that was the standard they would have to meet.
Ha! Ha! Ha! (gasp…wheez…gasp) Ha! Ha! Ha! (wipes eyes)
Expecting Bad Reboot alumni J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay to meet that standard is like expecting Ariana Grande to win the Noble Prize for Physics. Theoretically possible… But not likely.
Tolkien fans have been arguing over the same five books for better than half a century. The body of scholarly work based on it is gigantic. It is the entire bedrock of modern fantasy. Every fantasy writer has to consciously adopt or reject the Lord of the Rings, but you can’t possibly ignore it. There are frequent and violent arguments over what exactly the Valar were. What was the nature of Tom Bombadil? How much of the legendarium was adopted from Celtic myth? This was not the kind of fandom that you can use as a base for a popcorn burner. And there was no way in hell a couple of graduates from the Bad Reboot school of non-writing were going to be able to fake their way through a five-year series. This project was doomed from its inception.
There were several people at Amazon whose jobs it was to prevent something this bad from happening. As near as I can tell, all of them were circumvented. There is no way in hell these scripts looked good.
This may be the best fan comment that has surfaced yet:
I liked the bit where Galadriel said “I’m gonna fight Sauron alone! and then went home instead. And then she said “I’m never going to give up fighting Sauron!” but then decided to go on holiday. But just before she got on holiday she decided to drown herself instead because her brother said something sad to her when she was a child.