Nice thread. I know a lot gets said about the "future of the game", both pessimistic and optimistic but it's always a fun topic for discussion and good to hear some of the ideas out there.
1) Completely agree. I'm surprised it wasn't 2018 GenCon like many predicted. Some have suggested Caleb might leave it to be his parting gift to players - before he sails off to the undying lands - and that is a comforting thought.
2) Unless there's some disaster, I imagine FFG will do their best to tie up all Nightmare products for all released saga and cycles. I'm not a big Nightmare player so haven't considered Old Forest and Fog before, but yeah, unfortunately I could see them being missed out as they're PoD...
3) Everyone's favourite topic? Well, now we have Thranduil, Thorin III etc so the gaps are being filled in. I would personally love those wizard heroes but could understand if the designers chose to keep them as powerful allies only, certainly in Saruman's case - Radagast would need a new ally version at the very least. Tom and Goldberry I would argue shouldn't be player cards - only part of the encounter deck for any quests set in their realm (such as Tom in his PoD quests). If they do become player cards, then their effect would have to be quite abstract.
Now that sagas are over, Frodo and Bilbo need new player cards for sure. Sam is also a massive character with too few player cards. I guess a danger is having all-spirit hobbit heroes but I could see a Lore Frodo, Tactics Sam and Spirit Bilbo, maybe. Really, there needs to be a leadership hero other than Sam as well, but who? More hobbit cards are surely on the way: The Gaffer, Nob, Tom Cotton's sons...
4) The Mordor locale could be fun. On the other end of the scale, I'd like to see something closer to the Shire and Bree. Less epic but with some intrigue, hunting Sauron's spies for example. Alternatively, could Caleb ever consider a War in the North saga-style adventure, culminating in the Battle of Dale? I'd play that!
5) I'd love that too, but it would take serious work, and well as some head scratching to solve weird story jumps (see Dwarrowdelf).
Despite some frustrations, I liked Thew Hobbit boxes, re-doing those wouldn't be a priority for me.
Interested to read what other people are looking forward to