The Lord of the Rings, an Amazon joint


I’d certainly vote for Tolkien’s as the best ever, I’m just saying that “not as good as Tolkien” isn’t really a standard that makes sense to apply. “Competent world building” is selling Martin’s work very short.


I assumed that was what they were after. They say they’re looking for something Games of Thrones-ish. Children of Hurin is even more dark and epic. Murder, sex, betrayal! The Battle of Sudden Flame. The Battle of Unnumbered Tears.

Then the Captain of Morgoth sent out riders with tokens of parley, and they rode up before the very walls of the outworks of the Barad Eithel. With them they brought Gelmir son of Guilin, a lord of Nargothrond, whom they had captured in the Bragollach, and had blinded; and their heralds showed him forth crying: ‘We have many more such at home, but you must make haste if you would find them. For we shall deal with them all when we return, even so.’ And they hewed off Gelmir’s arms and legs, and left him.

Probably they’ll go for something else, but it could be a lot of fun, handled correctly.




This makes a lot of sense, with the Amazon rights thing happening. Christopher Tolkien was notoriously picky about giving out permission for anything.

On the one hand, I think he was a bit too picky in some cases; but on the other, I’m sure he prevented some truly horrible things being branded with Tolkien themes. I suspect his departure means we’ll see more Tolkien-branded stuff, both good and bad.


Interesting - I wouldn’t mind if they went all Games Workshop with their brands for a few years - While there are a lot of bad games in there, there are some pretty interesting ones as well. Mordenheim was made by a minor company, and turned out great and very loyal to the lore and the gameplay, so - we could end up with some interesting Lord of the Rings games.


I wonder if it was more of him gritting his teeth over the course of his father’s legacy or more of him being 92 (93 this month) and wanting to take it easy before his eleventy-first birthday.


I was going to say he wants to enjoy those Golden mid-90s years. Time to travel the world.


He wants to see mountains Gandalf!


According to a Reuters story about Amazon’s Prime Video division, production and marketing on the first two seasons could hit $500 million. That’s insane.

I wonder if they can even do it yearly? Game of Thrones has discovered what the wall is in terms of TV production. You can only make so many hours of high-end, SFX-laden TV in 12 months. Which makes sense, because a CGI-filled blockbuster movie usually is two years to create 2 hours of content.



It should just be an anthology show, with each episode giving us one of the orcs from the Shadow games, and demonstrating why they have those strengths and weaknesses. The Poet and Singing Orc episodes will be amazing.


The Verge just cribbing from the Hollywood Reporter

5-year commitment. Billion-dollar budget.


Please, God. No Peter Jackson.


I would think Jackson would be out as anything but a name in the credits (Producer of some sort), as he’s done with all things LotR and moved on. WETA and some of the other folks involved in making the movies however, would be a nice pickup for Amazon as they would bring the “look and feel” of the movies to the TV shows.

The one thing that stood out the most for me with both the original trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy was how the people in charge of the set designs, lighting and cinematography really just completely nailed Middle Earth. So many times throughout the movies I’d think to myself “Wow. That looks EXACTLY like I’d imagined it in my head from Tolkien’s descriptions.”. That was no accident, as Jackson has said many times that hundreds of people poured their efforts into getting those locations to look and feel just right.

If Amazon can replicate that in a TV show, I’d be very happy, even if the stories and characters are all new and mostly secondary to the actual trilogy.


If the first LOTR trilogy didn’t burn Jackson out on Tolkien, then you gotta imagine The Hobbit trilogy did. I’d imagine an executive producer credit at most, but this deal was made directly with the Tolkien Estate, right? Doesn’t that bypass New Line and Jackson?

Plus, I think a Jackson-less LOTR would actually be a twist that actually gets people interested. There’s been 18+ hours of Peter Jackson’s take on it already.


This can’t be emphasized enough and it makes me frankly pessimistic about this project. If you think about all of the great dramas that we’re getting during this golden age of television, the one thing they have in common is that each is the passion project of an inspired creator. In addition to Benioff and Weiss you’ve got recent examples like Noah Hawley with Fargo and Legion, Sam Esmail with Mr. Robot, Donald Glover’s Atlanta, and on and on. (And, of course in the not so recent past we’ve got some of the greatest television dramas of all time in Breaking Bad and The Wire.)

I’m sure there are lots of folks who are passionate about The Lord of The Rings but have any of them spent years thinking about it in the context of a made for TV drama that they’re burning to realize? With the type of money involved here, there is a timeline to find a creator and I have a hard time seeing that pressure magically aligning with the right creator at the right time.

Sorry – I hope I’m not peeing in people’s Cheerios. I very much hope I’m wrong. I’m enjoying Altered Carbon and loving The Expanse and don’t know anything about the creators behind them so maybe there’s a precedent for random adaptations that get it right. I’m going to keep my expectation low, however, and hopefully it will be a pleasant surprise.


Yeah, the visual design of Middle Earth was masterful.


Didn’t they also hire a lot of the artists that did the calendars and stuff?


Yes! Alan Lee and John Howe (I had to look them up, I’m not THAT big of a nerd) are who you are thinking of. They were already famous for illustrating multiple editions of Tolkien’s works, and Jackson brought them in very early on to help with storyboarding and illustrating set and character designs. They are the reason why Bag End, Helm’s Deep, The Black Gate and characters such as Gandalf and the Balrog look so “perfect” to fans, as they’re basically film duplications of the dozens of illustrations of each that had appeared in LotR materials over the years.

There was a ton of stuff like that in the production of the movies. I hope Amazon is aware of this and replicates it, brining in artists, set designers and others who worked with Jackson, as that alone would go a long way to making their Lord of the Rings a good series.

I also agree with the folks above, a passionate show runner is absolutely required. Luckily I would imagine there are no shortage of people in Hollywood who were influenced by both Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s movies, and would be eager and passionate about making a LotR project of their own with an Amazon budget.


Im not sure why the pessimism. Especially this early. I doubt that Amazon would invest north of a billion in a franchise without a strong drive to make an excellent series. They are, in many ways, pinning their streaming future on this project. I think that they are very vested in putting out a very high quality and entertaining production. Who knows if they will succeed but if it fails it won’t be from a lack of commitment.