Geekery: Amazon Snaps Up LoTR TV Rights

Look for a new prequel series to hit the major streaming service soon.

Jeff Bezos wanted something that could rival Game of Thrones and it looks like he got the original. Amazon Studios is working on a series set in Middle Earth with the Tolkien Estate and Trust; HarperCollins; and New Line Cinema. Rumor has it the deal cost Amazon $250 million, and we’re likely looking at somewhere around $100-150 million budget per season.

Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at the studio seems to be ready for the challenge….

The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. 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.”

There’s no word on what limitations the deal may impose.

There is certainly room for more stories set in the universe that don’t involve its most famous characters, and there are some stories that felt like they could do with some more attention that the movies didn’t provide. I’d like to see some expansion of Rohan or Númenor. The universe is definitely not limited to the saga of the ring.

What do you think? Is there room or want for a new Middle Earth series, or has that ship sailed?

  • Severius_Tolluck

    Or it could be the collection of stories that make up the Silmarillion

    • Marco Marantz

      Oh please yes.

  • Evil Otto

    There will, of course, be a few changes made to suit modern audiences.

    1) Frodo will have a wisecracking talking dog sidekick named “Max.”
    2) Elf boobs. Lots of elf boobs.
    3) At the end of season two the balrog’s older brother shows up, vowing revenge.
    4) Guest appearance by Optimus Prime.
    5) Massive amounts of CGI blood in every battle.

    • Chet Atkinson

      Lol, oh yes it’ll have to stray from the source material and like with other streaming shows it’ll have to feature plenty of nudity, sex and swearing. I’m expecting hobbit sex…

      • Hagwert

        LOL. The Tolkien children and grand children are quite elderly now, turning Middle Earth into GOT might be the shock that could finish them off !

    • Gustav

      I should be outraged, but you know, I would absolutely watch that…

    • GWELLS

      But you would still watch it. Look into your heart, you know it to be true.

  • I_am_Alpharius

    This will be epically good or dismally bad….

    I know a few studios, including HBO, where in the running for it. I was a little surprised HBO didn’t make more of a push for it. With Game of Thrones coming to an end, and even though they have a bunch of spin offs in the works, I would have thought that LoTR would fit nicely within that studio.

    Well New Line aka Warner Bros are involved, so I can see this dove tailing in with the films rather than replacing them. That would make me think they could be looking at Silmarillion material or material that leads up to the battle of the Last Alliance in the films.

    • D. B.

      I can see Silmarillion material being included, but as a standalone works, it could be unbelievably boring.

      What I would like to see would be the Fall of Arnor, the war with Angmar, something along those lines. They could work in Arathorn and maybe even some of the Elvish or Istari characters. Who knows. Maybe Gandalf even gets a sudden jolt to his memory and cries “Rómestámo and Morinehtar! Of course! How could I have forgotten?”

      • I_am_Alpharius

        I shouldn’t think they will want to delve too deep. It would just be too obscure for the average viewer. They’ll be wanting something that is familiar or familiar adjacent. Frankly as much as pre-grand alliance stuff would be, I actually suspect it will literally be a retread of the Lord of the Rings, but much closer to the narrative of the books. I’ve always thought a TV series could do the source material far better justice that 9hrs of film. LoTR is essentially 6 books. They could have six, 10-13 episode, series that broadly fit around them; although, like the films, books 5+6 can be intertwined so you do for go half the characters for a whole series.

        • D. B.

          If you ask me, the LoTR movies should each have gotten the attention The Hobbit got. While I love the original trilogy, I’ve been binge-watching the Hobbit trilogy as of late, the reason being very simple: They took their time to properly tell the story.

          Admittedly, the whole “Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!” can stay out and remain there. But the Barrow-wights? The ruins of Ost-in-Edhil (and more than just a short CGI sequence)? Ghân-buri-Ghân and the Drúedain? The March of the fiefs of Gondor? A lot of good stuff remaining unused TBH.

          And yes, Tauriel was necessary IMO (would it have killed Tolkien to include one named female character?).

          • MKG35

            Well Sméagol’s Granny did get a mention.

        • Shadowstrife

          The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep, but Amazon will be fine.

    • euansmith

      One massive bonus, as far as I’m concerned, is that it most likely won’t be in 3D.

  • Rainthezangoose

    This will be the best thing ever, or the worst crime commited by mankind. I don’t see it being anything else.

  • Hagwert

    I would love to see an epic series about the fracture and fall of the north and the final battles of the last king of Arnor . If the Tolkien estate are behind this project and Amazon put their very deep pockets into the deal the potential of this show is huge !

    • D. B.

      I say Marton Csokas as King Arvedui.

      • Hagwert

        Good call ….he has a very noble bearing about him and looks the right age.

        • D. B.

          As Guy of Lusignan in “Kingdom of Heaven”, he did an excellent “arrogance in the face of doom” number. Tone that down a bit and you’ve got your basic Arvedui.

          Furthermore, I nominate Peter Capaldi as Malbeth the Seer.

  • Marco Marantz

    Wow. the Tolkien estate wanted $250M for just the rights to do it, which was seen by many as a way to kill the project. If Amazon has actually fronted the cash then gawd.

    • Moonsaves

      They want dem Game ‘O Thrones dollars.

  • georgelabour

    I want an entire sub plot revolving around a troll who was trained to hug things, and play the drums.

  • Shadowstrife

    Sign me up for a Durin’s Bane prequel, following Balin’s quest to retake Moria and the awakening of the Balrog.

    It would be film-able on a TV budget, but maybe people are tired of dwarves after Jackson’s Hobbit fiasco.

    • WhenDidVicesBecomeVirtues

      If they go full dwarf instead of the half in half out human look they opted for in the Hobbit I’d prefer that. The first 3 were great but the Hobbit was a major disappointment in my opinion.

  • af

    Please, no.

    The more I live, the more I sympathize with Bill Watterson.

  • Moonsaves

    The question is… will GW try and get in on this? Is their licensing deal specifically with New Line Cinema?

  • euansmith

    I fancy a series like “Sharpe”, but focusing on the adventures of Grishnákh and his company of Orcs during the War of the Ring.

    • af

      I… uh… that’s a GREAT idea, and I mean it. I would totally watch a TV series about Grishnákh and his merry band of Orcs.

  • Tothe

    Silmarillion, please….