Amazon to make multiple Lord of the Rings prequel TV series

This could work: Gandalf, Aragorn and Sauron all get busy between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring

Amazon's television limb has announced it will make multiple series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Lord of The Rings.

The company says it has “acquired the global television rights” to the books and has made a “multi-season commitment” to the property

Amazon doesn't plan to remake LoTR itself. Instead the company says it will film “previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings” and explore “new storylines preceding … The Fellowship of the Ring.”

Which might not be a terrible idea, as plenty goes on in the years between the end of The Hobbit and the opening of The Fellowship. We know that Sauron makes his way from Mirkwood to Mordor and restores his power, while Aragorn and his fellow Rangers guard the borders of The Shire. Gandalf gets busy figuring out the true nature of Bilbo's magic ring. Saruman is corrupted. Moria is re-colonised, then falls.

All of which has huge potential for fine television.

Less obviously exciting is the “previously unexplored storylines”, because Tolkien's deep history of Middle Earth was not his most engaging work.

No creative team or broadcast date has been revealed. But when it is, expect interest in Amazon Prime subscriptions to surge, because this will be an “Amazon Prime Original” which means you'll need a subscription to see it in its first run.

The Hollywood rumour mill suggests Amazon shelled out between US$200m and $250m for the rights. ®

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