Amazon is going to Middle-earth. In November 2017, it acquired the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous literary world, which is home to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, to the tune of $250 million for just the rights. It reportedly expects to spend upwards of a billion dollars on at least five seasons of the show.
The show will also apparently fit in with Peter Jackson’s two trilogies. Amazon’s acquisition gives it a huge boost in the world of streaming television, especially as Netflix, Apple, and Disney make their own giant shows.
Follow along for all of the developments, updates, and commentary for the show.
Jan 19, 2022
Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series finally has a name, and it’s a damned good one.Read Article >
Set during Second Age, thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will tell the story of how the titular rings of power were first forged and divvied up amongst Middle-earth’s races. The new series’ title — along with a forging-focused teaser video — allude to how the rings’ creation were both tied to the reemergence of a long-dormant evil in the world and to the subsequent hardships that the world’s men, elves, and dwarves would end up facing in the future.
Aug 13, 2021
Amazon has decided to produce its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series in the UK from the second season on. Although the first season was filmed in New Zealand, as with Peter Jackson’s movies, Amazon now says pre-production on season two will begin early next year in the UK while season one post-production continues in New Zealand through June.Read Article >
It’s not clear exactly where the series will be shot. Amazon is shipping the complex sets it built for the first season over to the UK and is currently booking stages for them, according to Deadline. The company films several Prime Video series in the UK already, including Neil Gaiman adaptations Good Omens and Anansi Boys.
Apr 16, 2021
The first season of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV show is reported to cost the retail giant a frankly difficult to imagine $465 million to produce. Just to save you from having to re-read that, this price tag is for just one season, and that there is not a missing decimal in the above number. “This will be the largest television series ever made,” New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development and Tourism said.Read Article >
But this honor was already something of a known quantity, after Amazon spent $250 million to secure the rights to the franchise in 2017, kicking off a round of stories declaring the not-yet-produced show “the most expensive” television production in history, with the big B number circulating its rumored five-season run. This is perhaps fitting, since another episodic Lord of the Rings-adjacent production — Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy — currently holds the record for the most expensive movie production in history, at some $623 million (after tax credits).
Jul 3, 2019
Amazon has selected a director for its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s J.A. Bayona, reports Deadline. Bayona will direct the first two episodes of the series and will serve as executive producer along with producer Belén Atienza. The announcement doesn’t reveal when the series will debut on Amazon Prime Video or what other directors will be involved in the series.Read Article >
In the announcement, Bayona confirmed what Amazon had been teasing earlier this year: the show will be set in the “Second Age” of Middle-earth, and it will be a “never before seen story.” Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement that “the scope and breadth of J.A.’s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings. He’s a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multitalented producing partner, Belén.” Bayona most recently directed the latest installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, but he’s also known for films like A Monster Calls, The Impossible, and The Orphanage. He’s also worked in television before: he directed the first two episodes of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.
Jul 29, 2018
Amazon’s big Middle-earth-set show based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien is slowly moving forward. During this week’s Television Critics Association press tour, the company says that it has brought on two writers, JD Payne and Patrick McKay, to write and develop the series.Read Article >
The two writers are relative newcomers: both worked on the original script for Star Trek: Beyond, were part of the writer’s room for Godzilla vs. Kong, and are writing the upcoming sequel to Star Trek: Beyond, which will be helmed by S.J. Clarkson. Deadline says that the duo will help manage a writer’s room for the project, and that Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said during a panel they will now work on continued development for the show. She also indicated that the studio had gone through a number of pitches before selecting Payne and McKay.
Apr 5, 2018
Last November, Amazon announced that it had acquired the rights to produce a multiseason show set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The Hollywood Reporter now says that Amazon’s show might include material from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies and that it must go into production “within two years.”Read Article >
As the race for high-quality television content has heated up among streaming services, Amazon has been on the hunt for big, ambitious television projects to keep up with the likes of Netflix as well as Apple and Disney’s forthcoming streaming platforms. Its acquisition of The Lord of the Rings franchise brings them an enormously successful and recognizable property. Amazon reportedly beat out Netflix for the rights, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, it expects to spend around $1 billion on the show over the course of the five seasons to which it has reportedly committed.
Nov 16, 2017
Earlier this week, Amazon Studios announced that it had secured the rights to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as a television show for multiple seasons. It’s a huge get for the studio, which was charged by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to find the “next Game of Thrones,” in its drive to entice a global audience to its Prime service.Read Article >
While I’m personally intrigued by what a TV version of Lord of the Rings might look like, the announcement poses a very reasonable question: we already have Peter Jackson’s trilogy, so do we really need another take on Tolkien’s epic? I’m going to withhold judgment on the show until it actually materializes, but Tolkien’s Middle-earth is vast, with a rich history and backstory to plumb for season after season, and I suspect that there’s a good TV show in there somewhere. But going back to the well to revisit Tolkien feels like a missed opportunity, because there are a ton of other works that are equally deserving of the wider audience that television can bring.
Nov 13, 2017
Earlier this month, news broke that Amazon was trying to close a deal to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to life as a television series, and now it looks like it’s actually going to happen. Amazon has announced that it has acquired the TV rights for the book series, with a multi-season commitment. But the twist is that this will apparently be a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, rather than the story audiences already know so well.Read Article >
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”
Nov 4, 2017
Amazon Studios has been looking for a way to duplicate HBO’s success with Game of Thrones, and the company may have found a solution: adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into a TV series. Variety reports that the company is currently in talks with Warner Bros. Television and the late author’s estate, and while discussions are said to be in “very early stages,” it is clearly a high priority, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself involved in the negotiations.Read Article >
Amazon isn’t the only looking into the rights, according to Deadline, which reports that the Tolkien Estate is looking to sell the television rights to the iconic fantasy series to the tune of $200-250 million, and has approached Netflix and HBO as well. There appears to be some strings attached: the rights might not encompass all of the characters in the story. HBO has reportedly passed on the project.
Sep 29, 2017
Earlier this month, Variety reported that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued a mandate to the company’s studio: produce more “high-end drama series with a global appeal.” This morning, Variety reported that the company is following that order by moving forward with three major science fiction shows: adaptations of Larry Niven’s Ringworld, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, and Greg Rucka’s Lazarus.Read Article >
Since launching the studio in 2010, Amazon has earned considerable acclaim for its shows, such as The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, and The Grand Tour, but it seems that Bezos is setting his sights a bit higher. In an interview with Variety earlier this month, the head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, said that Amazon is looking to create “big shows that can make the biggest difference around the world,” by working on shows that appeal to a global audience.