It’s official. Amazon has announced that the proposed Lord of the Rings television series will go ahead with a multiple season deal closed.
“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, Amazon’s new head of scripted. “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.”
Most interesting is the fact the the Tolkien Estate is going to be involved in the project. The Tolkien Estate and Harper Collins have previously been denied observers rights on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multiseason 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.”
It may be J.K. Rowling’s formidable stance when dealing with Warner Bros. over her Harry Potter material that has influenced an increase in author involvement in screen adaptations of their works. Still, things are far from perfect, considering how little power George RR Martin has over the wild plot departures in Game of Thrones. It was, in fact, rumoured that the overrated HBO was in the running for the show – thankfully they were defeated by Amazon’s bottomless wealth. The staggering cost of producing this Lord of the Rings series also saw Netflix, who has been producing one excellent show after the other for the last two years, bow out. Deadline reports that the upfront rights cost Amazon $250 million, and estimate that the series would cost $100-150 million per season to produce.
In regards to previously unexplored stories, while Amazon will only have the rights to The Lord of the Rings at present, that includes excerpts of Middle Earth history in the Appendices and a great deal of material left out from Peter Jackson’s films, including the much-lamented absence of the great Tom Bombadil. This recently apprehensive fan is growing a lot more excited at the prospect of a multi-season series.