One show to rule them all!
Given the success HBO has had with “Game of Thrones”, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that Amazon is also looking to get into the fantasy genre, and is reportedly investigating adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy for the small screen.
On Monday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted the announcement that a “Lord of the Rings” series will be coming to the Amazon Prime streaming service.
“‘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 Amazon Studios Head of Scripted Series Sharon Tal Yguado in a statement. “We are honoured 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.”
“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season 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.”
According to the press release, the new series has been signed for a multi-season deal, and will be set before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, exploring new storylines.
Last week The Hollywood Reporter reported, Amazon Studios and Warner Bros. Television are in the “preliminary stages of discussions” for a potential TV series based on the iconic novels. (Amazon Studios and Warner Bros. Television declined comment, notes THR).
Sourced at the time indicated that a “Lord of the Rings” series wass far from a done deal. “Talks are said to be focusing on rights issues with the Tolkien estate; the project has yet to even go out to search for a potential writer,” reports THR.
The timing makes sense, given that just four months ago the Tolkien estate settled a five-year, $80-million court battle with Warner Bros. over profit participation from the multibillion-dollar film franchise that includes the original trilogy (“The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King”) as well as the prequel “The Hobbit” and its two sequels.
Meanwhile, Amazon Studios has been struggling to launch a hit series while undergoing some major management shakeups, including the resignation of studio head Roy Price following allegations of sexual harassment, and the ouster of the studio’s head of drama and comedy, Joe Lewis, over a variety of allegations, including conflict of interest.
“Stranger Things” star Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the “LOTR” trilogy, weighed in on a potential reboot on SiriusXM’s EW Radio.
“I saw that the other day, and I thought that was intriguing,” Astin told host Kyle Anderson. “I’ve been saying for 15 years that maybe like 12 years after ‘Lord of the Rings’ came out, that it would get remade.”
“And people always said, ‘Oh no, it’ll never get remade! It’s a classic!” he continued. “They could never top it!’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’ll get remade. It’s a massive story! The characters are so beloved.’”
The idea of reprising his role in the Amazon reboot never occurred to Astin. “I’m carrying the Samwise banner for the Peter Jackson version,” Astin explained. “When I saw the Amazon thing, that didn’t even occur to me. I just sort of thought, ‘What would it be like to see the next Sam there?’ I think it’s an intriguing idea [but] the devil’s in the details. How would they do it? How? Who?”
All the actor hopes is Amazon treats the property with respect, should a “LOTR” series be green-lit. “One of the great things about Netflix with ‘Stranger Things’ is I’m sure they were giving script notes, but I never saw ’em,” he said.
“The Duffers got to make their movie,” he continued. “The challenge would be, could they find some team to do it that they could let do their thing, or are they going to squat on it? It’s hard to make a TV series like this by committee.”