Amazon is putting its money where its mouth is in order to bring Middle Earth to life on the screen once again. Let’s hope it’s worth it…
It has been officially confirmed that Amazon intends to spend around £336 million ($465 million) on just the first season of its new TV series based on The Lord of Rings mythos. The enormous commerce company, now a streaming giant as well, has already commissioned a second series of the show before even one episode has been broadcast, so evidently it is very confident of having a hit on its hands.
The finances for the first series were revealed due to the Official Information Act in place in New Zealand, where the series has been filmed. Amazon’s estimated spend would be heavily supported by government subsidies, with New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash seeking to defend the handout by saying: “This will be the largest television series ever made. These grants are part and parcel of the international film industry, and without this you don’t get a look in the door.”
According to Stuff, who broke the news, there are currently plans for a total of five series of the TV drama, with a further spin-off series under consideration as well.
The main series is supposedly set long before the events of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, instead delving into JRR Tolkien’s rich lore of Middle Earth to tell stories that many viewers and even dedicated fans may be unfamiliar with.
Casting decisions have already been announced, with Robert Aramayo taking what is expected to be the lead role (and you may recognise him from another fantasy epic, as he played the young Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones). The character Galadriel will return in this series, though this time played by Morfydd Clark rather than Cate Blanchett.
Though such an ambitious project could well prove to be a smash hit among audiences and critics, some fans are none the less a bit cautious that it could undo some of the magic of Peter Jackson’s beloved movies. We’ll just have to wait and see if Amazon can do justice to the fantasy epic.