Amazon Studios’ streaming service is planning to bring fans a lengthy experience of Lord of the Rings via a television series. The company has been searching for show runners to develop what is likely to be a highly anticipated series, and most recently they settled on two semi-newcomers, reports Entertainment Weekly.
John D (J.D.) Payne, 44, is listed on IMDB as the uncredited writer for Star Trek: Beyond. He is also apparently writing the upcoming new Star Trek film as well, along with Godzilla vs. Kong. Besides Payne, Amazon has chosen Patrick McKay, who is also listed on IMDB as a writer for those same two films. Peter Jackson will not be involved, and has stated as much; however, NME says that Amazon’s executive claims to still be in hopeful talks with Jackson.
Neither of the two writers have been credited with TV writing; however that does not mean both are unfit, as the writers for HBO’s Game of Thrones created that well-loved show with no prior television writing experience on their resumes either. The pair have spoken to reporters, saying how excited they are to be working on the show.
“The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. 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.”
A multi-season commitment has already been made on Amazon’s part for the upcoming Lord of the Rings television series. It is estimated that the project will cost around $500 million USD. Entertainment Weekly notes that such a budget will make the Lord of the Rings series as the most expensive freshmen television show, not just of the decade, but of all time. No official release date has been stated for the television series.
NME did report that it’s likely the project will truly begin development in November, 2019. That same report cited Amazon executive Jennifer Salke as saying the following.
“We’re really excited about Lord of the Rings. We have an estate that’s very active. I’ve spent three hours with Simon Tolkien. There’s a lot of moving parts with it. We’ll have some game plan to move forward with very soon.”
“2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020.”
The show adaptation, set in Middle Earth, will explore J.R.R. Tolkien’s story lines which precede The Fellowship of the Ring. This means fans likely won’t be seeing Frodo or Sam. It has not been announced which characters will be making appearances at this time, and at this point, nothing more than speculation for names such as Gandalf and Legolas and Gimli to be thrown around.
No casting information has yet been discussed publicly; however Ian McKellen has expressed his interest in once again taking on the role of Gandalf during an interview with NME journalists.