Film Cell Cards

From LOTR-TCG Wiki
Moria Scout (1C191) film cell card prototype front
Moria Scout prototype back

One of the realities of producing marketable product for a licensed property is that ultimately the control lies in the hands of the property owners, and all ideas must be ran by them for approval. Sometimes, the answer to a product request is "no".

One such request concerned the idea of Film Cell Cards, which would have been promotional items similar to Oversized Cards which would mimic the look of tournament-legal cards without actually being legal to play. The basic idea is that actual film cells used in the production of the film would have been sandwiched between two layers of card stock in lieu of having a printed portrait, and presumably each card would have resulted in a slightly different image as a result. By necessity this would have been a limited-print run, unless the cells used were themselves duplicated.

The speculation on logistics is moot, however, as New Line did not approve the product. Perhaps they foresaw the logistical issues themselves, or perhaps they didn't appreciate the extremely narrow aspect ratio making human faces difficult to frame in a flattering manner, or perhaps they were unable or unwilling to produce more of the physical film. Whatever their reasons, the response was an inscrutable "THIS CONCEPT IS REJECTED" in all caps. Apparently this surprised Decipher, as a handwritten note indicates they had received verbal encouragement before the formal rejection.

The project was thus doomed to remain only as prototypes. For those prototypes, Decipher artists appear to have rearranged the Isengard character template to fit the horizontal aspect ratio, and then apparently hand-cut and secured a handful of transparent film cells in between the card stock. The effect is certainly striking, if unpolished, but that is after all the point of a prototype.

Decipher submitted the concept for review on 22 February 2002, and was apparently informed of the rejection a month later on 29 March. Those rejection notices and images of the prototypes themselves are shown below, courtesy of Kreg Miller:

  • Demonstrating light shining through the transparent film cell.
  • Close-up showing what appears to be evidence of hand-crafting.
  • More close-ups.
  • More close-ups.
  • More close-ups.
  • The Arwen prototype also demonstrating a light source shining behind the card.
The original submission request for licensing approval by Decipher.
The original prototype front images sent by Decipher.
The original prototype back images sent by Decipher.
The rejection by New Line.

Physical Products
Card Product Booster Packs
The Fellowship of the RingMines of MoriaRealms of the Elf-lords
The Two TowersBattle of Helm's DeepEnts of Fangorn
Return of the KingSiege of GondorMount Doom
ShadowsBlack RiderBloodlines
The HuntersRise of SarumanTreachery & Deceit
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The Two TowersBattle of Helm's DeepEnts of Fangorn
Return of the KingSiege of GondorMount Doom
ShadowsBlack RiderBloodlines
The HuntersRise of Saruman
Deluxe Starter Sets The Fellowship of the RingThe Two Towers
Draft Packs Fellowship Draft PackTowers Draft PackExpanded Middle-earth
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Unreleased Beta Cards Of Very Little Importance (Beta)Fortune of Fate (Beta)Always a Baggins in Bag End (Beta)Maiden of the Golden Ale (Beta)Ripples in the Pool (Beta)Of Very Little Importance (Beta)It's the Beard (Beta)There are NO Dwarven Women! (Beta)
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Unreleased Merch 2002 Toy Fair CalendarFilm Cell CardsOfficial Signed Cards
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