A report detailing Amazon's deal to secure the rights for The Lord of the Rings TV show suggests that Peter Jackson could be involved, and that the series may cost $1 billion. With studios still scrambling to produce the next Game of Thrones, it was only a matter of time before J.R.R Tolkien's fantasy epic was thrown into the mix. Sure enough, last year brought news of Amazon developing a The Lord of the Rings TV show which was quickly picked up to series with a multi-season commitment.
It's not yet clear what The Lord of the Rings TV show will be about, but it's said to function as something of a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy (both the books and movies). While it's not known if that means the show will take place after The Hobbit or even earlier than that story, Tolkien created a rich mythology and world that Amazon should have no trouble using as the basis for many seasons' worth of storytelling. Based on the latest news concerning the show's production, it seems something even more grandiose than Game of Thrones could be on the horizon.
THR is reporting that between all of the costs of The Lord of the Rings TV series, the show will run upwards of $1 billion. That price tag not only includes production costs, but also the $250 million Amazon paid for the rights to the books and material from the films in order to outbid Netflix, who were also vying for the rights. Furthermore, Peter Jackson has an option to come aboard as an executive producer and active talks are attempting to woo the director to the series. That's only possible now because Christopher Tolkien retired from the Tolkien estate in November 2017. And as Middle-Earth fans know all too well, Tolkien despised Jackson and refused to work with him on any LOTR-related project because Jackson had the tendency to deviate from the books.
The previously reported budget for The Lord of the Rings show said $500M+ was a likely number, meaning the new estimate adds another $250M along with the rights deal. However, given how eager Amazon is to garner not just a critical hit but one that pulls in massive numbers as well, the prrice tag could prove to be worthwhile.
To put things in perspective, season 8 of Game of Thrones will be the most expensive yet, with each of the six episodes running $15 million a piece. There's no telling how long The Lord of the Rings will last, but the report says Amazon's deal is for a five-season run and a potential spinoff, which was what helped Amazon instead of Netflix secure the rights deal with the Tolkien estate, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema in the first place. Not only that, but fans should get the series before long as the deal stipulates production must begin within two years.
A billion dollar, multi-season commitment is no small order, but with Amazon anxious for a big hit and the terms of their agreement giving them a timeline, it may not be long before cast and crew information starts pouring in for the series. What's more, plot details could also be forthcoming as The Lord of The Rings will need to begin pre-production soon to hit its deadline.