‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Director J.A. Bayona Joins Amazon’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Series
Amazon’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’ series has found its first director, as ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona signs on to helm the first two episodes of the highly anticipated fantasy drama.
At the moment, not much is known about the content of the new series. We know it will be set in Tolkien’s Second Age, and explore an area of Middle-Earth not seen on screen before.
“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honour and a joy to join this amazing team,” commented Bayona. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world back to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story.”
For those of you that don’t know your Tolkien, the Second Age is way in the past, long before the Third Age, when the Fellowship took a long walk to Mordor, and long before Bilbo met a dragon. We have seen a tiny bit of the Second Age on screen already in the opening moments of the film trilogy in the battle scene between the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and Sauron. That led to Sauron’s physical form being defeated and he heading to Mordor to become a firey eye on a tower. That battle marks the end of The Second Age, but the entire period spans 3441 years, so there is plenty else going on for the series to delve into.
The Second Age is in a time when the dwarves are flourishing in Khazad-dûm (later known as Moria) beneath the Misty Mountains, and Elrond (he is very old!) founded Rivendell. It is also during this time that the rings of power are created by the elves and The One Ring is created by Sauron. We do know the series is likely to feature the island of Númenor, which was the kingdom of men. It’s not something you usually find on a Middle-Earth map, due to it being sunk by “The Valar” (basically the Gods of Middle-Earth) after the Númenóreans disobeyed them when the king was corrupted by Sauron.
Bayona’s first feature film, the critically acclaimed thriller ‘The Orphanage’, executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, premiered to a ten-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and later won seven Goya Awards in Spain, including best new director. Bayona most recently directed the blockbuster feature ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’, which grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide. He also directed ‘The Impossible’, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and ‘A Monster Calls’, starring Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson, and Felicity Jones, as well as the first two episodes of Showtime’s hit series ‘Penny Dreadful’.
“The scope and breadth of J.A.’s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings. He’s a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multitalented producing partner, Belén.” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We are all excited for them to join our writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and we can’t think of a better way to begin this journey to Middle-earth.”
Bayona will also serve as an executive producer, alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza. Payne & McKay will lead the writer’s room, which is also believed to include veteran ‘Game Of Thrones’ scribe Bryan Cogman and ‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Better Call Saul’ writer Gennifer Hutchison.
“We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belen joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series,” add writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay. “We have been great admirers of J.A.’s work for years, and know that his epic, cinematic, and deeply heartfelt aesthetic is the perfect sensibility to bring Middle-earth to life anew.”
We don’t know exactly when the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ tv series will land on Amazon, but we do know it was picked up with a massive multi-season commitment. The show will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. We’ll bring you more as we get it.
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.