Speed Reads

one TV show to rule them all

Amazon is taking over Middle Earth

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanded Game of Thrones, and his studio delivered. On Monday, Deadline reported that Amazon has acquired "multi-season" TV rights to the Lord of the Rings series.

J.R.R. Tolkien's high fantasy trilogy was most famously adapted between 2001 and 2003 by director Peter Jackson, with the final film, The Return of the King, winning 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture. "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 Tolkien Estate and Trust representative Matt Galsor. "Sharon [Tal Yguado] 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."

Netflix and HBO were also approached by representatives from the Tolkien estate, Deadline reports, with Amazon allegedly sealing the deal for between $200 and $250 million. "That is just for the rights, before any costs for development, talent, and production, in proposition whose finances many industry observers called 'insane,'" Deadline writes. "It is a payment that has to be made sight unseen as there is no concept, and there are no creative auspices attached to the possible series."

While the series will of course be set in Middle Earth, it will "explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's [first book in the trilogy] The Fellowship of the Ring," Deadline adds. That being said, the series is not, apparently, an adaptation of The Hobbit, which serves as a standalone prequel to the trilogy. A "potential spinoff," however, is also packaged in the deal.