Fifteen years after the release of Peter Jackson's Return of the King, Amazon is trying its hand at adapting J.R.R. Tolkien epic fantasy series, except this time it'll be a TV show. Five seasons were ordered right off the bat with a rumored budget of $1 billion. Now, that's a lot of Lembas bread. With such a massive undertaking ahead of the company, audiences will have to wait at least three years until they can binge a Lord of the Rings series on their Amazon Prime accounts.
"It'll be in production in two years; [on the air in] 2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020," said Amazon Studios president Jennifer Salke in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where she explained how they're just now starting to look into possible writers and showrunners. After all, the deal only closed officially last month.
To make sure that things are as accurate and faithful to Tolkien's original writings, Amazon is collaborating with the writer's grandson, Simon Tolkien, who is also a writer as well as a lawyer.
"We have an estate that's very active. I've spent three hours with Simon," Salke said. "All of us would love a big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game."
When it comes to Peter Jackson's involvement, the Amazon executive was a little more open-ended about a possible collaboration with the New Zealand filmmaker, even if he has categorigically denied that he doesn't have anything to do with the series.
"We're in conversations with him that I think are very amicable about how much involvement he wants and what kind," she said. "We haven't figured out exactly what that is yet. He may say he is involved or he's not involved. We're still very much in conversation with him about what kind of involvement he would propose."