It is hard to believe that the movie that started the ball rolling on arguably the best movie trilogy since the original Star Wars trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, dropped in 2001. It was followed by The Two Towers in 2002, and The Return of the King in 2003 that combined makes up the ground-breaking Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Fast forward 18 years, and the trilogy is as relevant now as it has ever been. With the recent announcement that the Lord of the Rings TV show is in the works at Amazon, anticipation for the show is sky-high.
Amazon has been playing the series close to the chest, and have kept their flagship show under the radar. Nonetheless, some details have surfaced, and we have the inside scoop.
For any Lord of the Rings fans, it is well established, but for the uninitiated, it is worth mentioning that the franchise is adapted from author J. R. R. Tolkien's best-selling book series.
The Tolkien Estate is the legal body that manages the patents and rights to Tolkien's works after Tolkien passed away.
Amazon bought the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings on November 13, 2017.
In addition to the Tolkien Estate, Amazon signed a deal with the Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema for a multi-year television deal that put Amazon behind $250 million, thereby demonstrating their commitment to the series.
If anyone can spend exorbitant amounts of money on a TV show, it would be billionaire Jeff Bezos.
If reports from The Hollywood Reporter are to be believed, Amazon is reportedly spending in the upwards of $1 billion to bring Middle Earth to life. If it is true, it would be the biggest budget for any TV show in television history.
As with any series of this magnitude, one of the first things that people want to know is the release date. It is especially difficult considering the unprecedented heights the trilogy reached and continued with the ensuing Hobbit prequel trilogy.
Frustratingly, the powers-that-be at Amazon have been very secretive about letting slip any details. Still, the $250 million television deal included a clause that mandated production for the series be commenced within two years, which is roughly November 2019.
However, Amazon executive Jennifer Salke chimed in with more substantial details. Her statement reads:
"All of us would love a big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game. We’re really excited about Lord of the Rings. Despite all the chatter about it, the deal just closed a month ago. It’ll be in production in two years; [but] 2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020.”
Fans of such shows as Firefly and Battlestar Galactica know not to pin their hopes on a TV show, lest they get canceled in their first season.
Well, it looks like fans can rest assured: Amazon is committed to at least five seasons as part of their TV deal. Plans are subject to change, but it is more than likely that we will be getting a multi-season TV show. Amazon even confirmed a season 2, even though season 1 has not even debuted yet.
Fans getting into the series hoping for a direct adaptation of Tolkien's books will ultimately be left disappointed.
To temper fans' expectations from the series, Amazon has been outspoken about the setting of the series. The series will not in any way intertwine with Tolkien's book, nor will it be any sort of a precursor or a continuation of the movie franchise.
On the contrary, the series will explore newer avenues. In a press release, Amazon admitted to much, saying:
"previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings"
Amazon has confirmed that the mantle of the showrunners will be helmed by writer J.D Payne and Patrick McKay.
They put up a joint statement on their appointment that read:
"We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care. It is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”
The writers for the show also include Bryan Cogman of Game of Thrones fame; Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul alum Gennifer Hutchinson; Justin Dohle, writer for Stranger Things; and Stephany Folsom, writer for Toy Story 4; among others.
Australian TV actress Markella Kavenaghis confirmed as the lead character, Tyra.
Sir Ian McKellen, who famously played Gandalf in the movie franchise, has expressed interest in reprising his role for the TV series.
“I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.”
According to Amazon, the series is set in the Age of Númenor (or the Second Age). For those who haven't read the books, this means that the series is set 3,441 years before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.
If sources are to be believed, the first season primarily focuses on a young Aragon.