A ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series In Development By WB & The Tolkien Estate
It’s one of those things that seems so obvious, it’s a wonder no one has done it before… Warner Bros. Television has put into development a tv series based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic ‘The Lord of the Rings’ novels.
According to reports, WB and the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien are in the very early stages of bringing Middle Earth to the small screen, with Amazon being eyed as a potential home for the series, although no deal has yet been reached. However, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, is said to be personally involved in the negotiations to land the project for the streaming giant.
It’s interesting to see WB and the Tolkien estate working so closely, given only a few months ago they settled a lawsuit, which had been ongoing since 2012, over the use of Tolkien’s characters in various online games. The estate had been saying they were owned millions in licensing revenue from that merchandising, as WB did not have a license to use their property in that way. Thankfully, it seems that was resolved amicably – so amicably in fact, that the two companies are now back together pitching a tv series!
It’s an interesting time over at Amazon, as the company found itself reshuffling its top-level staff following the resignation of president Roy Price over sexual harassment allegations, which saw other senior staff leave or switch roles. However, the pursuit of a large-scale project like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is very much in line with the vision Bezos set out for Amazon back in September. Rather than continuing with smaller niche dramas, he tasked the company to look for ‘Game of Thrones’ style big budget shows with a broader, global, appeal. The work of Tolkien would seem to fit nicely into that area.
It’s difficult to say exactly what a show based on Tolkien’s work would look like, as it seems likely they won’t have access to all of the characters from the books. Rather than retreading the ground told in Peter Jackson’s six movies, it maybe we get a show following some of the many other characters in Tolkien’s extensive writings. Whilst he is best known for ‘The Hobbit’ & ‘The Lord of the Rings’, there is a multitude of other collected Middle Earth material to work from, such as ‘The Silmarillion’, ‘Unfinished Tales’, ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’, and many histories and other books.
Whilst Amazon is seen as the front-runner for the project, it’s believed the show has already been pitched to HBO and streaming rivals Netflix. HBO is believed to have passed, which is no great surprise, given they are already working on a number of ‘Game Of Thrones’ spin-offs. Whoever takes the series will need deep pockets, as the rumoured price tag for the rights alone is said to be $200 to $250 million, with an estimated production cost of $100 to $150 million per season!
‘The Lord of the Rings’ tv show, is still very much in early development by WB, and a deal has yet to be signed with Amazon, so it may not even happen, or could go somewhere else. We’ll let you know if and when we hear more.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.