Amazon Prime Announces 'Lord of the Rings' Prequel

After the box office success — and critical failure — of The Hobbit trilogy, Amazon on Monday announced yet another Lord of the Rings prequel. Rather than a behemoth series of three 3-hour films however, the new Amazon project will be a television series.

The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” Sharon Tal Yguado, head of Amazon Studios’ scripted series, said in a statement.

Amazon acquired the global television rights to the series of novels penned by J.R.R. Tolkien and will be developing a multi-season show, the company announced. The upcoming Amazon Prime Original Series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema, the division of Warner Bros. Entertainment behind the original trilogy.

Variety broke the news that Amazon was in talks to acquire such rights earlier this month.

“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings,” Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins, said in a statement.

“Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

While The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are Tolkien’s most famous stories, he has many other works detailing the history of Middle Earth. Besides those two, Tolkien himself published The Silmarillion, but his son Christopher Tolkien has finished many other tales, including Beren and LúthienThe Children of Hurin, and others. Amazon has a plethora of material to choose from.

The Amazon press release rightly noted the spectacular nature of Tolkien’s works and the cinematic masterpiece that was The Lord of the Rings trilogy:

A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings novels was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003. Its theatrical adaptations, from New Line Cinema and Director Peter Jackson, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide. With an all-star cast that included Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom, The Lord of the Rings trilogy garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, posted the news in a tweet Monday.

Some users responded with excitement, praising the original trilogy and hoping for similar quality.

Others, perhaps dissatisfied with The Hobbit trilogy and skeptical that Amazon would do more prequels justice, asked, “Why?” or said, “Nah.”

As HBO’s hit fantasy show Game of Thrones draws to a close next year, this Lord of the Rings prequel may seek to compete with the announced Game of Thrones prequels.

Perhaps the best response to this news comes from Théoden, son of Thengel.

Watch a trailer for The Fellowship of the Ring below.