On Nov. 3, the big-media, juggernaut Amazon announced that they had acquired the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings book series. Amazon Studios have released their own original programming since 2015 but have yet to envision a TV project so expansive in scope.
The announcement was made only a few weeks after reports that Amazon had entered early negotiations with Warner Bros and the Tolkien Estate, which hold the rights to the franchise.
The Lord of the Rings is not only an iconic staple of contemporary literature, but the series became a cultural phenomenon when director Peter Jackson brought the books to the big screen in the early 2000s with tremendous success.
“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.”
Amazon also shared that they have ordered not one but multiple seasons of the series all set in the world of the franchise, suggesting that the series will expand on the films and will explore new territories of Tolkien’s universe.
However, the project is still very much kept secret. There is no director or writers yet announced for the TV series. The only thing that is known is the TV series will take place before the book, The Fellowship Of the Ring.
Director Peter Jackson, who helmed the original trilogy, is not involved in this series so the creative talent will be entirely new.
The show is reported to be the most expensive television show ever made. The Tolkien estate had approached both HBO and Netflix, but Amazon outbid them both with global rights being somewhere around 250 million. That is also excluding cost for the initial production of the TV series, which has not started yet.
The news that Amazon is developing a big series like The Lord of the Rings is not altogether surprising. CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos has been on record as wanting to find a hit series that can compete with HBO.
Amazon Studios have released TV series since 2015 with huge critical acclaim like Transparent, but have yet to helm a show that has been extremely popular with the masses such as HBO’s Game of Thrones and Netflix’s Stranger Things.
The Lord of the Rings film series that was released in the early 2000s was a top-rated franchise. Not only were the films huge box office hits, but also critically acclaimed. The Return of the Ring won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2003, which was the first and only time a fantasy film has won the Oscar.
With Peter Jackson’s three films already inciting much critical acclaim, some people might ask why they would adapt the books yet again. However, with popular franchise sequels like Star Wars and Jurassic Park, there is still a sizable audience wanting to revisit these worlds.
The acquisition of The Lord of the Rings series is yet another sign of Amazon’s dominance not only in the business world, but in the entertainment industry as well.