A year ago, Andy Serkis set up a fundraising effort to help a pair of UK charities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which he read the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit in a straight, 12-hour shot. Soon thereafter, HarperCollins brought him on to record a new edition of the audiobook.
Now, you’ll get to listen him read you the entire saga: HarperCollins is launching a new audiobook edition of The Lord of the Rings, to be narrated by Serkis.
The announcement came via J.R.R. Tolkien’s official Facebook page and The Bookseller, which reports that the audiobook will be available on September 16th from major audiobook retailers, and released on CD October 14th.
According to The Bookseller, Serkis and the rest of the production team who worked on The Hobbit will return to produce The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Serkis, of course, earned considerable acclaim for his work portraying Gollum in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the trilogy, and it seems as though he’s bringing his familiar take on the creature’s voice to this audiobook.
In a statement, he noted that the experience of returning to the trilogy has been an interesting challenge:
“Walking back into Middle-earth over 20 years after my first life-changing adventure there, and experiencing it all over again (this time for many weeks alone in a sound booth) has brought in equal measures of pure joy, sheer madness, immense pleasure and a level of psychological and physical fatigue I have never quite experienced the like of before.
The existing audiobook editions of the trilogy will likely still be sold: You can still buy editions of The Hobbit narrated by Rob Inglis, Martin Shaw, as well as two ensemble cast editions online. There are several audio editions of the trilogy available from both Inglis and Shaw, as well as dramatizations from Ian Holm / Michael Hordern / Robert Stephens and NPR.
The audiobook is now available to preorder from Audible in the UK, although the US edition doesn’t seem to be available just yet.