Almost two decades after Peter Jackson's first Lord of the Rings movie came flaming into cinemas, Amazon has begun work on a Lord of the Rings TV show. There may be no word on a release date, but there's still enough information out there to get us Tolkien fans extremely excited for what's to come.
The teases for the Lord of the Rings TV show began when a series of maps floating around the official Twitter account, confirming the show will take place during the Second Age. The Second Age ended with the first downfall of Sauron (as seen in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring), and there are plenty of fascinating stories the series could tell. Below, there's more on what the Second Age could mean for the Lord of the Rings TV show, as well as everything else we know!
Lord of the Rings TV show's release date
The Lord of the Rings TV show currently has no release date. However, we do know that Amazon has to start production on the show by 2020, or else their deal with the Tolkien Estate and New Line (which cost Amazon a reported $250 million) is rendered null and void.
Reading between the (legal) lines, we can therefore expect to see the Lord of the Rings TV show on our screens by 2021. There’s potentially scope for a crossover with the movies, too, as Warner Bros executives were brought in to finalise the deal thanks to that very possibility.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke corroborated this timeline, explaining: “It’ll be in production in two years. 2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020.”
The Lord of the Rings writers and directors
Star Wars: Beyond writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay will act as co-showrunners on the new series. Speaking of their appointment, they said in a joint statement: “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.”
Joining them as a consultant is Bryan Cogman, who is best known for rising from as assistant on Game of Thrones to writing some of the HBO fantasy series' best episodes. Meanwhile, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director JA Bayona will helm the first two episodes of the first season (Amazon have signed on to produce five seasons) and will act as an executive producer.
Lord of the Rings TV Show cast
There's currently no word on who has joined the show's cast. All we have is Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the three Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit trilogy, saying that no other actor could play the wise wizard.
“What do you mean, another Gandalf?,” McKellen told Graham Norton when asked whether someone could take over the role. “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.”
The Lord of the Rings TV show map contains valuable story hints
Welcome to the Second Age: https://t.co/Tamd0oRgTwMarch 7, 2019
Despite theories to the contrary, looks like the Lord of the Rings TV show takes place in the Second Age - counting out a potential series centred on a young Aragon (Strider was not born until the Third Age).
The setting was revealed when Amazon posted an image of the island of Númenor; home to Aragorn's people, the Númenoreans (who are, to massively simplify things, humans with a very long lifespan). They lived there until their home was destroyed, making it a ruin by the events of the main Lord of the Rings story. Whether the show is set on Númenor remains to be seen, but fans certainly are eager to get an insight into the world that came before the movies, with many hoping to see how Sauron rose to power. Perhaps we will even see the forging of the One Ring (which happened in the year 1600 - the Second Age lasted 3441 years).
The Lord of Rings TV show won't involve Peter Jackson
Sadly, Peter Jackson, who directed the film trilogy, has confirmed he is not involved with Amazon's TV adaptation. He said at a New York Comic Con panel last year that he's "kind of looking forward to it" as a viewer instead. "I was a guy who didn't get to see the Lord of the Rings like everybody else because I had to make it", Jackson explained, "so I'm looking forward to seeing somebody else's take on the Tolkien world."
That said, reports have confirmed that Amazon is in talks with the New Zealand government to arrange principal filming in Jackson's native country. Pre-production has already begun in New Zealand's Aukland Film Studios. Expect lots of aerial shots of snowy peaks, rolling hillsides, and craggy cliff faces, just like in the main trilogy.
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