Many threads have been made suggesting a Tolkien-themed TW based on the movies and books. The main objection is the cost associated with acquiring the rights. But the rights to the books alone are far easier to get as many small companies have done so. CA could as well get the rights and it would allow their amazing artists to invent a new vision of Middle-earth. I think the artists at CA could do as good, or perhaps even better, at presenting Middle-earth. I think they would do a far better job than EA games did with BFME 2 or LOTR online. CA could also hire Alan Lee or John Howe to lead the design team and thus legally have a very similar look to the movies without paying costs on the rights.
Also, new games could be done on the first, second, and fourth ages where CA could create the image [as Jackson did in the movies] that gamers and Tolkien fans associate with and could truly be creative here.
Movie Fans Think About This
I have no doubt that if CA did a LOTR TW the most popular mod would be a visual adaptation to fit the movies. The most awarded and downloaded mod of any TW game is a mod that did just that, third-age total war. However, know the limitations would be removed, and most all the work is done besides adjusting the look of units.