Amazon has been sitting on their plans for the Lord of the Rings series for some time, and now they just took their biggest step yet in the journey across Middle-earth. Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke was on the Television Critics Association press tour yesterday and announced that after “a long process and extensive search” writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have been hired to develop the upcoming Lord of the Rings series. Is it possible to have two ring bearers at the same time? Well, it is now.
This adds another giant portion on the duo’s already crowded plate which not only includes STAR TREK 4 but also JUNGLE CRUISE with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt and their Blacklist script ESCAPE which is set up to be produced by Mike De Luca (THE SOCIAL NETWORK, MONEYBALL). Speaking on the project the duo said, “The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”
Amazon Studios will distribute the show and work in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinemas. Acting as a prequel, the series will cover events before FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, including “new storylines.” There was some speculation some time ago that the show could focus on a younger Aragorn (played by Viggo Mortensen in the movies), but nothing new has come of that.
Well, it looks like that’s all for now. Payne and McKay have landed some massive projects in the last year, so they must have some great ideas that have been impressing the studio heads. This is far bigger than anything they’ve gotten yet, so the best of luck to them. Amazon is in this series for hundreds of millions of dollars, if not a billion, so saying there’s a lot riding on this is a bit of an understatement. Much like with Frodo with the Ring, the fate of Middle-earth rests on Payne and McKay’s shoulders.