TV's awakening, and in some sense surpassing, of movies as audiences' go-to medium just entered a new phase with the inking of deals to bring a hugely popular fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings, and a best-selling videogame, Hitman, to television platforms. As of the end of September, Amazon was reportedly working on 67 TV series and 20 movies, including three costly sci-fi projects. It's important to note that it won't follow the events of the Lords of the Rings, but rather it is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's work and will feature original stories from that universe.
The original series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Estate of J R R Tolkien, publishing house HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. The move is made more intense by the fact that no creative choices on the show have been made yet, save that it will be a prequel series taking place before the first LOTR film, The Fellowship of the Ring.
A world-renowned literary work, and victor of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings novels was named Amazon customers' favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain's best-loved novel of all time in BBC's The Big Read in 2003.
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However, the series will not be a retelling of Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning trilogy. "I better see Elijah Wood as Frodo I don't care how old he looks".
The Tolkien Estate had also approached Netflix and HBO, according to Hollywood entertainment website Deadline, which reported the deal came with an eye-watering upfront rights payment of around $200 million. Astonishingly, that price does not include whatever it will cost to develop and eventually produce however many episodes/seasons are in our future.