Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the rest of Middle Earth are making the switch to the small screen after Amazon announced it has committed to a multi-series adaptation inspired by JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels.
The television adaptation will tell new stories based in the period preceding The Fellowship of the Ring, the novel that provided the basis for the first part of Peter Jackson’s film trilogy.
A Lord of the Rings series had been rumoured, but on Monday the streaming service confirmed it had acquired rights to Tolkien’s work and would be pursuing the project with a potential spin-off.
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon’s new head of scripted programming, who took on the role after the resignation of Roy Price last month amid sexual harassment allegations.
“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.”
“Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on JRR Tolkien’s original writings.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the move comes as Amazon attempts to find a challenger to HBO’s Game of Thrones, and establish a big-name franchise after a run of poorly received scripted programmes.
The news comes after Disney announced it was working on a live-action Star Wars TV project led by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, which will feature completely new characters in “a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored”.
Jackson’s cinematic adaptations of The Lord of the Rings grossed nearly $6bn worldwide, winning 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.