New report reveals Netflix and HBO's original Lord of the Rings series pitches

Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
(Image credit: Amazon)

A new report has revealed more about the original pitches for a Lord of the Rings TV show – and they're very different to The Rings of Power. Per The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), both Netflix and HBO brought the Tolkien estate ideas that were vastly different ground to the Amazon Prime Video show. 

According to the publication's sources, HBO pitched a retelling of the Third Age, AKA the events of the Lord of the Rings movies (see our Lord of the Rings timeline for a deep dive into the chronology). But, while the estate did have problems with the Peter Jackson movies, they weren't keen on covering the same material again. 

Netflix, meanwhile, is said to have pitched multiple TV series, including Gandalf and Aragon shows. "They took the Marvel approach," an insider told the publication, "and that completely freaked out the estate." 

The report also details the creatives Amazon considered for its epic fantasy show before settling on showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo pitched an idea for the Third Age "as an Aragorn story," while Anthony McCarten – Oscar-nominated writer of The Theory of Everything and The Two Popes – reportedly had a Shakespearean approach. "The people we were up against have résumés that on paper would be more suited to the gig," McKay said. "We were the dark horse candidates."

Ultimately, the show ended up set in the Second Age, exploring the story that took place long before the events depicted in the Jackson movies. 

The Rings of Power is almost at the end of its first season, but there are multiple more on the way – in fact, season 2 has began production in the UK. In the meantime, check out our The Rings of Power release schedule to keep up to date on when the next episode arrives in your time zone. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.