An overall focus on quality over quantity, on getting things right, was the recurring theme at the TCAs today as Amazon updated its lineup of projects in development. SYFY WIRE was on hand, where we found out that LOTR now has its own social media presence; The Expanse will likely make its much-hyped Amazon debut before the end of 2019; and there’s an all-new sci-fi series in the works that aims to explore girl power... in the most literal sense.
First up, The Lord of the Rings: Amazon’s studio bosses said development on the new series is “making great progress,” but that there’s “no timetable” for a release date as the show lavishes all that creative energy — and all those dollars — on what’s likely to emerge as one of Prime’s flagship series.
“We’ve worked hard to establish Amazon as the best home for talent… we’re taking a curated approach to programming,” said Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, explaining the slow (and presumably deep) development philosophy guiding LOTR, The Expanse, and other tentpole projects.
For the time being, all the speculation over whether LOTR movie mastermind Peter Jackson is involved with the series — or might work with Amazon to use the new show as a launching pad for a big-screen spinoff — will have to remain just that: speculation. “We don’t have any news” on Jackson’s involvement, or lack thereof, said Salke. “No negativity; just no news.”
At least now we can start tracking LOTR via social media. Amazon unveiled the show’s official Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, setting fans up with a single ring of official information to rule them all.
As for Season 3 of The Expanse, new details are light — but Amazon expects the former SYFY show’s debut at its new streaming home to happen sometime in 2019.
“We’re hoping [to premiere the] new season before end of the year,” said Vernon Sanders, co-head of Amazon Television. “We can’t wait for fans to see what their love has helped us build. We’re aiming for before 2019 is over.”
Amazon also used the occasion to announce The Power, a new sci-fi series to be led by none other than The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano, and based on the acclaimed 2016 novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman.
Set in the present day, but with a (literally) shocking twist, The Power’s world is just like the real one — except for the fact that, “suddenly, and without warning, all teenage girls in the world develop the power to electrocute people at will,” the studio teases, adding that the series will be massive in scope: “Over our first season and beyond, the series will follow its cast of remarkable characters from London to Arizona, Nigeria to Moldova, as the Power evolves from a tingle in teenagers’ collarbones to a complete reversal of the power balance of the world.”
Alderman’s original book was praised by everyone from The New York Times to President Barack Obama, and she’s on board as one of the new series’ executive producers. Amazon didn’t mention a debut date in its reveal, so stay tuned for much more as details begin to crackle.
Finally, a couple of quick hits: Yes, Al Pacino has been cast in The Hunt, Jordan Peele’s upcoming fantasy twist on New York City Nazi hunters in the 1970s. Pacino, whose role hasn’t been named, will join series lead Logan Lerman (who plays chief Nazi tracker Jonah Heidelbaum) for the 10-episode series. Created and written by David Weil, The Hunt is being developed for Amazon by Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions.
As for any fresh news on Amazon's Game of Thrones-style tentpole epic The Wheel of Time, Salke said there’s “no specific timeframe” for the series to make its debut. But, she assured, “We’re building an incredible team. We’re focusing on making it our creative best — so we don’t have a specific timeframe for that series.”