To get a sense of how committed Jeff Bezos and Amazon Studios are to the Lord of the Rings TV series first reported on a few days ago, just look at how swiftly they are issuing press releases. Because today sees them drop a few concrete details about the series, its scope, and which era in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy will be explored.
First of all, Amazon paid the Tolkien estate what Deadline says is roughly $200M+ just for the adaptation rights, and for that price they are giving it a multi-season commitment, with estimates that each season could cost between $100M-$150M. As for when it will take place, it will be some time before The Fellowship of the Ring. Here’s the official statement:
Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.
I’m not fluent enough in Tolkien to know exactly what that could mean, but I can guess at the potential of it. Doubtful this means we’ll be seeing more Bilbo Baggins stories since Peter Jackson ran through enough of those with The Hobbit trilogy, and audiences probably would rather forget those happened. Surely the Tolkien estate would, since they were never huge fans of Jackson’s adaptations, anyway. They never had any trouble cashing those Hobbiton checks, but they seem to be taking a more active role in this TV series and it’ll be interesting to see how that manifests creatively.