After weeks of rumors, Amazon has officially found it’s “Game of Thrones“, announcing today that it has purchased the television rights to The Lord of the Rings. The company intends to produce an original series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s popular fantasy saga.
In the world of streaming content, there has been a growing arms race for acquisitions of premium franchises and Amazon has taken a huge step against its competitors, locking into a deal with the Tolkien estate for a rumored $250 million closing. Surprisingly, these would only be for the rights, before any costs for development, talent and production are factored in.
Head of scripted series Sharon Tal Yguado stated in a press release:
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. 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.”
But for Tolkien fans, this raises a lot more questions what this could all mean for the future of the franchise.
Will the TV series use characters from books such as The Silmarillion or do they plan to introduce new characters entirely? The author’s son, Christopher Tolkien has been editing and finishing the leftover drafts for decades now but he has also expressed distaste for the commercialization of his father’s work.
Saying in a 2013 interview to Le Monde:
“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away. They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25.”
Yikes…that certainly seems to be the demographic Amazon is targeting. Maybe CEO Jeff Bezos mended those fences over time.
Tolkien estate and HarperCollins representative Matt Galsor said the series will “bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”
There is currently no word on who is attached to star, produce, or direct and the new show will only be available for Amazon Prime members.