What LOTR Means For Amazon
It's been officially announced that Amazon has sealed the deal for the rights to a Lord of the Rings television series for a whopping $250 mill (and that's just for the rights). For those familiar with the series, this may not be something we needed or asked for but could it be something worth the price? Some say it can't be done, others may wonder, what else is there from Middle Earth that hasn't been filmed already!?? Well, if you don't know, I guess I'll spill some beans on you, but not before I let you know what this means for Amazon.
The original LOTR trilogy grossed over 2 billion dollars worldwide (on a budget of roughly 94 million per film) and has garnered critical acclaim for it's strong and mostly faithful adaption of the source material. This will be quite an undertaking for the shipping/streaming giant as it's current line-up of television productions doesn't come close to the epic scale this one will bring. If this works out in their favor, that would ring in exponentially more subscribers to Amazon Prime as well as heighten anticipation for their future productions. With Netflix exploding on the market right now with Stranger Things and Hulu keeping in toe with Handmaid's Tale, this looks to be a somewhat of a power play rivaling even that of HBO's Game of Thrones. Though it probably won't be nearly as explicit, a property with such a loyal fan base will garner much more attention than the likes of Man in High Castle (which is brilliant yet seemingly not as well known) and hopefully bring them up to speed with their rival networks. That said, a lot will be riding on the success of this series for Amazon Prime as there are plans to make this multiple seasons with spinoffs as well. Hopefully for them, it won't turn out to be a similar case to Universal's recent second attempt at a Dark Universe franchise.
So what's left to be adapted? Fear not, as Amazon isn't looking to recreate the epic trilogy once more. The deal is for them to work with New Line Cinema and the Tolkein estate, who previously wanted no part in any additional features to their property, (maybe the $200 million convinced them otherwise) to adapt a series which takes place well before the epic adventures of Frodo and Sam to destroy that one ring. The Silmarillion could be the answer to this which is actually a companion piece to all of Tolkeins Middle Earth writings, written by him and published post-humously by his son in 1977. The narrative of The Silmarillion describes the larger universe of Eä and it's creation which contains ancient histories of Middle-Earth, Valinor, Beleriand and Númenor as well as beings and events contained in the First Age, the Second age and some of the Third Age which is where the Lord of the Rings would take place. There's also the History of Middle Earth which is a 12 volume series entailing everything from the additional "Book of Lost Tales" to the development and conception of the LOTR trilogy lore. You may not have heard of the Children of Húrin, which is a complete story on its own, set many ages in Middle-Earth's past. Deeper still there is the Unfinished Tales, which are even more essays and stories that were never completed but are modified to form narrative fragments connected to the world's lore which Tolkein was constantly working on and revising in an attempt to expand the world and the stories within it.
Looking into these works is both fascinating and also somewhat exhausting as there is just so much information about the world and how it came to be, there could be numerous stories derived from these works perfect for an episodic format in the right hands. Though seeing as the Hobbit series didn't go quite as well as the trilogy that preceded it, there's plenty reason to remain cautiously optimistic as more info comes through on casting, writing, and direction. And who knows, maybe this will end up being the next big step in Amazon's attempt to take over the realm of men! Let us know if there's any Middle-Earth works we may have missed and if you're on board or totally annoyed that this is happening.