Let’s be honest, it was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Four months after JRR Tolkien‘s estate settled a lawsuit with Warner Bros. Studios regarding the profits from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Amazon Studios has announced a multi-season LOTR television series is in the works exclusively for the company’s streaming service. The series will reportedly cover stories from Tolkien’s early writings, focusing on material pre-dating the events in the book and film trilogies.
Amazon acquired the rights to the series for a whopping $200 million, but the series is expected to cost a further $150 million in production costs per season. Given the popularity of the content, however, expenses don’t seem to be a cause for concern. A rep for Amazon was quoted in a statement as saying, “The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. 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 made the deal with both the Tolkien estate and New Line Cinema, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Studios, who distributed Peter Jackson’s LOTR film trilogy between 2001-2003. Jackson’s films earned a combined total of nearly $3 billion in worldwide Box Office sales. The final film, The Return of the King, won the Oscar for Best Picture (2003), along with 10 additional Oscars, including Best Director and Best Visual Effects. No word is yet available on how soon the television series will be available to stream, but I’m guessing the studio will want to jump on the project given its popularity and the fact that Game of Thrones, another extremely popular fantasy series, is currently working on its eighth and final season. Check back for further updates.