Amazon has announced it is turning J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into a multi-season, live-action television show.
The Amazon Prime Original series will be based around the classic three novels but will feature stories previously unexplored on screen, based on Tolkien’s original writings.
The show, which is yet to have an official air date, will focus on events prior to The Fellowship of the Ring, the first novel in the series.
Amazon Studios will produce the show, in co-operation with the Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, which brought the tale to the big screen from 2001-2004.
It doesn’t appear as if Peter Jackson, who directed the LOTR trilogy and the less-acclaimed The Hobbit trilogy, is involved in the project right now. None of the original cast are currently attached to the project either.
“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 Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios.
“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.”
Precisely which stories and characters the series will explore remains to be seen, but there are plenty of possibilities within the realm of Middle Earth.
Amazon could choose to follow Bilbo Baggins’ adventures after The Hobbit, it could chart the return of Sauron to Mordor, or Aragorn’s time in exile as a ranger and the blossoming of his romance with Arwen.
Related: Middle Earth: Shadow of War review
Will we see more of Frodo and Sam growing up in The Shire? Or Gollum’s torturous life with The One Ring? Where do Gandalf and Saruman fit in, if at all?
It’s probably more likely, the series will source material from The Silmarillion, the collection of unfinished Tolkien works published in 1977.
The final part of that collection is called “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age,” which deal with the build up to the events of The Lord of the Rings novels.
Regardless, the decision to take on arguably the most beloved trilogy of novels and movies of all time is a huge calculated risk for Amazon.
If the adaptation proves successful, it’ll undoubtedly be a signature show for Amazon Prime, which it has been missing in the battle to keep up with Netflix.
However, if the series is a flop, it’ll undoubtedly damage Amazon’s original programming drive and elicit a fierce reaction from the passionate fanbase of the movies and novels.
The pressure to invest heavily to match the scale of Jackson’s trilogy will be also be huge.
Regardless, let’s hope the Amazon adaption takes less liberties with Tolkien lore than the recent Middle Earth: Shadow of War game!
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