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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson still waiting on promised 'LOTR' prequel scripts, looking forward to being a 'neutral viewer'

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Power premieres Sept. 2 on Prime Video.

By Vanessa Armstrong
Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) and Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir) in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Amazon’s The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power isn’t the first time, of course, that J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle-earth has been seen on screen. Over 20 years ago, director Peter Jackson brought three beloved Lord of the Rings movies to theaters, followed 10 years later by a trilogy of films inspired by The Hobbit.

The Rings of Power, based on Tolkien's appendix fleshing out his fantastical world, is a prequel to the stories Jackson brought to the big screen in award winning fashion. Given the director's experience, it’s not surprising that Amazon might want his involvement in the upcoming series. 

“[Amazon] asked me if I wanted to be involved – [writer-producer Fran Walsh] and I – and I said, ‘That’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script,'” Jackson told Scott Feinberg on The Hollywood Reporter‘s Awards Chatter podcast. “So they said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we’ll send them to you.’”

After that initial outreach about five years ago, however, Amazon went dark. Jackson says he never heard from them again, but has “no complaints at all” about that, and remains eager to see the finished episodes. 

“I’ll be watching it,” he said. “I’m not the sort of guy who wishes ill will. Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it’s something to celebrate. The one thing I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer.” 

So why did Amazon suddenly go silent? Here’s the answer the studio gave The Hollywood Reporter

“In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings films and are thrilled that he is looking forward to the watching The Rings of Power.”

It sounds like the reason (or the excuse Amazon is providing) is that there were legal concerns related to the $250 million deal the studio cut with the Tolkein estate that subsequently required them to have a distinct separation from Jackson’s films. 

Whatever the reasons for Jackson's lack of involvement, we, along with Jackson, can watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power when it premieres Sept. 2 on Prime Video. 

Looking for some fantasy content to tide you over? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.