If six movies (I’m counting The Hobbit trilogy, even though The Hobbit trilogy doesn’t actually count because it was mostly kind of rubbish) wasn’t already enough, the streaming media service has apparently paid about $250 million for the rights to adapt the books into a multi-season TV show featuring “previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings”.
According to Deadline, the prequel series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” says Amazon’s head of scripted series Sharon Tal Yguado. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”
“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,” adds Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins rep Matt Galsor. “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.”
What exactly constitutes “previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings” is a matter of speculation for the moment, but I’d expect that some parts of The Silmarillion could be included. Or maybe not, if the writers want to cash in on the sex and violence and glam soap opera incest drama of Game of Thrones. Tolkien’s oeuvre might’ve established a lot of enduring genre tropes, but despite its preoccupation with men and rings, it wasn’t particularly salacious.