by Alicea Alford – Staff Writer
Amazon struck a deal with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line to produce a Lord of the Rings television series with a multiple season commitment, as well as potential for a spin-off series.
The rights to Lord of the Rings alone, cost Amazon around $200 million. When adding in production budget, cast, writers, producers, visual effects, etc. the series is most likely to cost more than $1 billion. The series is on track to become the most expensive show of all time.
The series would be based on the Lord of the Rings novels and the hobbits, wizards, and dwarves. It would take place before The Fellowship of the Ring, making it a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, giving fans a new journey to love. Though a cast or story line has not been set, the deal gives Amazon space to establish new characters and expand the stories Middle Earth, rather than use the story and characters audiences know and have seen previously.
A representative for The Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperColins says, “The team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”
With creating this Lord of the Rings series Amazon’s goal is to distance themselves from their niche series’ and move towards large-scale shows with a wide audience, as directed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. They are looking to plant themselves with a strong fantasy franchise, with Game of Thrones ending soon audiences are going to need their fill of the genre.
There is still a lot up in the air about the specifics of the series, since the deal has just been made. Conceptually, there are many things Amazon can do relating to The Lord of the Rings given the language used in the deal where they are not required to use specific characters and have some free-reign in their series. They will have to find a balance between making it stand apart from the Peter Jackson movies while still making a cohesive connection between them aesthetically.