Amazon have officially confirmed that a Lord of the Rings TV series is in the works - and that it’ll be a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring.
It was rumoured a week or so ago that the streaming service were interested in the project, and now Deadline reports that a deal has been agreed, with Amazon beating off competition from the likes of Netflix and HBO by paying around $250 million to the Tolkien estate (and that’s *just* for the rights!).
While people had wondered if it’d be another adaptation of Tolkien's books or explore some as-yet-unseen period of Middle Earth, it’s now being reported that it will serve as a precursor to Fellowship. There’s no word on when exactly that is, though since Fellowship is mentioned it presumably comes between The Hobbit and then.
The plan is for a multi-season TV show, with an option for a spin-off as well, which comes as Amazon looks to make a big splash and create their own Game of Thrones-esque megahit. This might well end up being the most expensive series ever made, when you consider a budget per-season would likely be upwards of $100m plus the cost of the rights. Amazon are betting BIG on this, basically.
It’ll be difficult for any series to recreate the small screen success of Thrones, with an increasingly crowded marketplace and fewer 'water-cooler shows', though a LOTR series would have a much bigger built-in audience than most (even despite the negative response to and diminishing returns of The Hobbit trilogy). Still, $200m or-so just for an IP, for a network with an unproven track record in TV (let alone anything of this scale) is a risk - time will tell if it’s one worth taking.
What do you think about a LOTR TV show? What should it focus on? Share your thoughts down in the comments.