Amazon acquired the global television rights to the series of novels penned by J.R.R. Tolkien and will be developing a multi-season show, the company announced. Peter Jackson turned the books into a trilogy, but Amazon doesn't necessarily have to abide by that structure.
"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, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios. Amazon's press release does note that the deal with the Tolkien estate "includes a potential additional spin-off series".
The upcoming Amazon Prime Original will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Tolkien fans, still licking their wounds after the Hobbit trilogy, are likely to be very wary of another potentially less-than-faithful prequel. It's not hard to see why studio executives would be pursuing a show like this, considering the movies collectively made almost $3 billion (£2.28 billion) at the Box Office and were nominated for a whopping 30 Academy Awards - of which they won 17.
The rumour of a Lord of the Rings television show caused a hell of a lot of fanfare. But while the 2.09 million viewers who tuned in to the recent Season 3 premiere of that show constituted a banner night for Starz, those ratings pale in comparison to the 16.5 million viewers who tuned in to the Season 7 Game of Thrones finale just a few weeks before.
Whatever Amazon chooses to adapt, it certainly won't be hurting for material. Their official involvement in this show seems like a big deal, not only because it means the show will have their stamp of approval, but also because it could signal a shift in tone for this adaptation.
Getting "The Lord of the Rings" series at Amazon could help gain new clout and build up Amazon's ability to grow its Prime memberships through its video service.
The Internet also made the point that with literally so many other fantasy series out there waiting to be adapted, it doesn't really make sense to devote more screentime to a franchise that's already six movies long.More news: George Takei Calls BS on '81 Sexual Assault Claim