Amazon Studios is producing a multi-season television series based on J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in co-operation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and Warner's New Line Cinema which produced the successful LOTR film franchise.
The Amazon Prime Original series will be "a new epic journey in Middle Earth" predating the events that take place in The Fellowship of the Ring, focusing on "previously unexplored" storylines based on the author's original writings.
To bring the world of Bilbo Baggins, Aragorn and Gandalf to the small screen, Amazon struck a deal for global television rights in LOTR, with potential for an additional spin-off series. No further details of the deal were divulged but, according to sources of media industry publication Deadline, the sum paid could be close to $250m.
As an Amazon Prime Original series, it will be available only to Prime members. Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series for Amazon Studios, commented: "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 honoured 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."
Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins, said: "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. 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 writing."
No further details were available on when the series will arrive or what titles HarperCollins will produce. HC has just published a big new illustrated book called Middle-earth From Script to Screen, which for the first time chronicles the making of the six Peter Jackson films as one big coherent project.
Warner has already produced "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor" and "Middle-earth: Shadow of War", which are extensions of the Lord of the Rings universe in game formats, introducing new characters and new timelines.
The cinematic adaptations of LOTR, starring Elijah Wood and directed by Peter Jackson, grossed nearly $6bn worldwide, and garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.