A TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings novels could be coming to Netflix or Amazon Video, according to a surprise leak that will surely fire up Frodo fans the world over.
It might seem like we’ve only just said goodbye to Aragorn’s hunky combat-Jesus stylings, but the final Lord of the Rings movie actually debuted nearly 15 years ago. That’s an age in Hollywood terms, so it comes as no surprise to learn that production companies are toying with the idea of continuing the franchise on – far beyond the now-aged trilogy.
According to several sources – including Variety, Deadline, and the Hollywood Reporter – a number of big-name production companies have been approached about a Lord of the Rings TV series. Deadline reports that Amazon, Netflix and HBO were all approached about the project, but that HBO reportedly balked at the price early on.
That’s fair enough, because it’s reported that the J.R.R Tolkein estate – which manages Tolkein intellectual property – is asking for an incredible $200-250 million just for rights to the project. That means producers will then have to fork out an extra $100-150 million in production budget to actually make the series.
According to Deadline, both Netflix and Amazon are still in the running, but most reports online seem to focus on the latter’s involvement. Variety says that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is personally involved in the negotiations, which is a rare thing. Amazon Studios is supposedly the front runner for the deal, and would be working with both Warner Bros. Television and the J.R.R Tolkein estate on the production.
The Hollywood Reporter says that Amazon Studios is keen to push for genre-focused content, with Deadline suggesting that Bezos hopes to mimic the good fortunes of HBO’s hugely popular Game of Thrones TV series – also adapted from a successful series of novels. Apparently talks are still in very early stages however, and a writer has yet to be found.
What none of the reports detail is exactly what sort of shape the series would take. Everything points to an adaptation of the Lord of the Rings novels specifically, which counts out other Tolkein works like The Hobbit or The Silmarillion.
But with the Lord of the Rings film adaptations still so fresh in the world’s collective memory, it may prove tricky to cast roles effectively. Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn and Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf have become cultural icons, and shifting those characters to new stars successfully is no mean feat.
None of the firms named in this report have released official comment on the matter.
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