Amazon Wins Massive Bid to Produce ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series

One does not simply get TV rights to a Tolkien franchise

November 14, 2017 9:00 am

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

One must assemble a fellowship of hobbits, elves, dwarves and men.

And, uh … around $250 million if you’re Amazon — who just announced a deal approaching that quarter-billion mark, to bring multiple seasons of Tolkien’s beloved, highly lucrative franchise to its streaming service in a new original series. It won the bidding war over Netflix and HBO, in what is certainly its intended fantasy answer to Game of Thrones.  

The series will precede the action of The Fellowship of the Ring, and according to Hollywood rumblings, will explore “new storylines” on a “new epic journey in Middle Earth.” No talent has signed on yet for the project, and it will be interesting to see how much creative freedom the usually protective Tolkien Estate allows its new writers. After all, one of GOT’s greatest fan appeals is its indulgent use of language, humor and, well … bodily expression, mixed seamlessly with the swords and blood and battles that reel viewers in in the first place.

Either way, the inking is the latest in a seismic shift of power to TV and its streaming services. And for Amazon, a bit later to the game than the others, Gandalf’s words might need to go up on an office poster. With some slight edits, of course.

“A good streaming service is never late. Nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it needs to.”

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