Earlier this month it was reported that Amazon was in talks with Warner Bros. Television and the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien for the rights to adapt The Lord of the Rings into a TV series.
As it turns out, things were farther along than we thought. Amazon has confirmed that they have now reached a deal, and are officially committed to not just one single season of a Lord of the Rings TV series, but a multi-season adaptation of the timeless fantasy books Tolkien penned. But it won’t just be a new take on the story we saw play out in Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy. Instead, the series will focus on new storylines which take place before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. And there’s even an added bonus to the deal that could mean an eventual spinoff series as well.
Continue reading for more on the announcement.
Here’s part of the press release announcing the series from Amazon:
Amazon today announced it has acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment. The upcoming Amazon Prime Original will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios. “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.”
“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings,” said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. “Sharon and 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.”
Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.
A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings novels was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003. Its theatrical adaptations, from New Line Cinema and Director Peter Jackson, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide. With an all-star cast that included Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom, The Lord of the Rings trilogy garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
This is an unbelievably massive project for Amazon. Apart from the obvious significant details, Deadline reports that the Tolkien estate also approached Netflix and HBO, and that Amazon ended up paying close to $250 million to land the project. That’s $250 MILLION…just to secure the rights. Astonishingly, that price does not include whatever it will cost to develop and eventually produce however many episodes/seasons are in our future.
Whenever Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series arrives, it will be available exclusively to Prime members.
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