Amazon Studios confirmed that a Lord of the Rings TV series is in the works after the streaming service agreed to a multi-season commitment with the J.R.R. Tolkien estate and New Line Cinema, Deadline reports. The series will reimagine Tolkien's epic fantasy novel in a Middle Earth different than filmmaker Peter Jackson's vision.
Amazon – owned by Jeff Bezos, reportedly a huge Tolkien fan – was considered the frontrunner when the series was first revealed, and reportedly locked down the rights for an estimated $200 million; that figure doesn't factor in an expected production budget of $150 million per season.
"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 a representative for Amazon Studios in a statement. "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."
It's unclear how Amazon plans to divide the series. Peter Jackson turned the books into a trilogy, but Amazon doesn't necessarily have to abide by that structure. Deadline adds that the series will also focus on events that precede the book's first part The Fellowship of the Rings.
"We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings," said a Tolkien estate representative. "Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings."
The Lord of the Rings series comes four months after the Tolkien estate and Warner Bros. settled a long-standing lawsuit over the film's profits.