And you've gotta admire their tenacity — five seasons are already planned, with an estimated budget of $1 billion. They're really going to pull out all the stops, but one person won't be involved in such an ambitious production: Peter Jackson. Before you start speculating why, the Mortal Engines producer and co-writer has come forward with a simple answer: He can't wait to see, with fresh eyes, what Amazon comes up with.
“It’s interesting,” he said during an interview with Fandom. “I would hope to just be able to go into a Tolkien story and enjoy it like an audience member, which I’ve never been able to do. It’s one of the things I’ve missed out on, as people have enjoyed the movies we’ve made, but I haven’t enjoyed them because I’ve made them. So even though we made the films that we wanted to see, you can’t see them properly, you can’t clear your head. So, the thing that I am hoping is, if the series gets made, that I can just sit back and watch some Tolkien that I haven’t been part of... if I don’t get involved with it. So that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
That last part — "if I don't get involved" — makes it sound like Jackson could still be roped in as an advisor to the series, despite protestations in June that he would not be involved in any capacity; Amazon Studios president Jennifer Salke was a little more optimistic at the time. After all, he did write the playbook when it comes to adapting Tolkien's massive tomes for the big screen.
He could prove to be a valuable asset to showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay. Who knows, maybe the temptation may prove to be too tantalizing for Jackson, who didn't have five sprawling seasons with which to develop Tolkien's iconic characters, creatures, and settings. But again, there's no jealousy on that front, either. The filmmaker is quite happy with the way his movies turned out in terms of length and scope.
"Well, we spent quite a bit of time... I think the extended cuts of the Lord of the Rings films are over 12 hours, so our three movies are about the length of a series," he added. "So we didn’t stint, we didn’t hold back. We had a decent length."
Amazon's take on Lord of the Rings is expected to arrive sometime in 2021.