Amazon head Jennifer Saike says the Lord of the Rings TV show could premiere in 2021. The series is still in the early development stage, but is easily Amazon's most ambitious and expensive original TV show yet. Initial reports have suggested the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy adaptation could cost as much as $500 million to produce over multiple seasons, with some estimates pegging the cost at $1 billion total. Saike has further confirmed that the series will include beloved characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy proper, including (rumor has it) the younger version of Isildur's heir himself, Aragorn.
However, given that much of this information is unofficial, it's not been clear how far along the fantasy TV series actually is, much less when viewers might get to visit the small screen version of Middle-earth. According to Saike, the Lords of the Rings TV show doesn't even have a showrunner just yet (much less a formal title), but it could begin streaming through Amazon within three years from now.
Saike has informed THR that the deal for the Lord of the Rings TV show only closed a month ago (at the time of writing this), so the show is still a ways off from starting filming. Amazon isn't necessarily charging head-first into shooting on the series either; Saike says they want it to be a "big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game" and are currently in the process of interviewing "different groups of writers" for the series. At the same time, however, Saike anticipates the show entering production within the next two years for a premiere sometime in 2021 - though, as she put it, "there are other people who wish it was 2020."
Interestingly, Saike isn't ruling out the possibility that Peter Jackson will work on the Lord of the Rings TV show in some capacity. Jackson recently claimed that he's "not involved at all" with the series, but Saike says that Amazon has been in "conversations" with him that she describes as being "amicable" in nature. She further admitted that they "haven't figured out exactly" what his role would be either, meaning that Jackson isn't necessarily being misleading when he plays down the idea that he will be journeying back to Middle-earth in the foreseeable future.
Amazon will branch out into big-budget genre fare when it launches the Jack Ryan TV show later this year but, as Saike indicates with her comments here, Lord of the Rings is clearly meant to serve as an even bigger leap forward for the company and its original programming. There's certainly enough fresh material to sustain Amazon's TV show too since, as any Tolkien fan could tell you, there are vast amounts of prewritten Middle-earth lore that Jackson didn't adapt with either his Lord of the Rings or Hobbit film trilogies. The real question is: will the demand be there by the time the show is ready, three (or so) years from now?
We will continue to keep you posted on the Lord of the Rings TV show's status as more details come to light.