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AI Makes Lord Of The Rings A Cyberpunk Epic & It Looks Genuinely Incredible

AI has had some fun with the Middle-earth IP. From Pixar movie concept art to a Wes Anderson-infused version of "The Lord of the Rings," artificial intelligence has been endlessly rehashing J.R.R. Tolkien's world. One of these adaptations jumps forward in time, meshing the famous fantasy trilogy with the Cyberpunk 2077 universe. Created by theaipage, the short clip is packed with throwbacks, references, and clever cross-over puns. The Instagram post is titled "AI Generated Lord of the Rings in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe," and the caption explains that it was created with the "Screen AI" tool.

The clip starts with a close mimicry of Hugo Weaving's Elrond talking to Gandalf. This is accompanied by a shot of a Weaving-esque character in a trench coat who has some strong Agent Smith from "The Matrix" vibes. From there, we get a barrage of witty lines, most of which are lifted from "The Lord of the Rings" with clever adjustments.

Elrond references "cycles" of time. Heroes are now hackers and netrunners. The One Ring is now a "Chip" that can pick up its creator's signal and must be wiped. Hobbits are shown with drawn, pale faces and scraggly emo haircuts. The Tower of Sauron is now the Arasaka Tower with a glowing eyeball-shaped AI core. The Nazgûl ride motorcycles. We even get a montage of futuristic members of the Fellowship of the Ring, each in their own genetically and technologically modified cyberpunk glory. Gimli is particularly entertaining, as the brawny character declares that the Chip-bearer doesn't have his axe, but rather his "hacks." The in-video title sums up this genuinely incredible mash-up by calling it "The Cyber Lord of the Chips."

The irony: Tolkien wasn't a fan of technology

The best part of this cybernetically infused iteration of Middle-earth? It's so far from anything J.R.R. Tolkien would have ever approved of. Even an '80s sci-fi version of "Lord of the Rings" would have been taking things too far. The Oxford professor is famous for his hostility toward progress and industrialization. If anything, Tolkien's world and works are known for their backward-facing focus and their technophobic tendencies.

Saruman is the perfect example. Once the wizard breaks bad, he becomes infamous for turning Isengard into an oversized hub of industrialization. He builds machines and destroys the local flora to keep his forges going as he comes up with ever-more clever and destructive new inventions. Sauron is similarly mechanized in nature. Mordor runs like clockwork, and one of the Dark Lord's biggest dictatorial issues is the desire to organize, control, and micromanage everything, often via industrialized means. In the books, when the Hobbits return to the Shire, it has also been overrun and destroyed by Saruman's minions, who have erased much of the natural countryside and put up brick buildings with belching smokestacks.

A Cyberpunk alternative universe of Middle-earth only drives harder in this destructive anti-Tolkien direction. But we're not going to lie. Even if the author would have hated the concept of a cyberpunk Middle-earth, theaipage's take is a pretty epic glimpse of a wild "what if" scenario. It's also loaded with clever comments and plenty of laughs. Two of the best lines in the whole video? A shot of a Legolas look-alike saying, "They're taking the hackers to Arasaka!" and a quick clip of Gandalf shouting, "Access denied!" in Bridge-of-Khazad-dûm fashion.