New Zealand Will Be Middle-earth Again For Amazon’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Series
New Zealand will, once again, become Middle-earth, as Amazon announces their ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series will begin production in Auckland over the next few months.
Set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, the series, from showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The Second Age is in a time when the dwarves are flourishing in Khazad-dûm (later known as Moria) beneath the Misty Mountains, Elrond founded Rivendell, and the rings of power are created by the elves, along with The One Ring, created by Sauron.
“As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff,” commented Payne and McKay. “And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.”
This isn’t the first time New Zealand has been used as Tolkien’s fantasy world. Peter Jackson shot his ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy there, returning again for his ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy, so it makes perfect sense to have the tv series use the same wonderful New Zealand backdrop.
“We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase,” add Payne and McKay. “The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”
At the moment, plot details for ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ series are scarce. From the little bits of information teased by the official Twitter account, it looks like it will not only feature mainland Middle-earth, but also the island of Númenor. This would be a location which has not been seen before on screen, mainly due to it not existing in the Third Age when the films were set. It was sunk beneath the waves by “The Valar” (basically the Gods of Middle-Earth) after the Númenóreans disobeyed them when the king was corrupted by Sauron. It is also the place from which Aragorn’s bloodline descends.
We do, however, have our first cast member, as it was announced last week Will Poulter (‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’, ‘The Maze Runner’) had been tapped for an undisclosed role. As we said at the time, he would be a great fit to play Elrond, or possibly Elros Tar-Minyatur, twin brother of Elrond and great (times a lot!) grandfather of Aragorn, but we’ll have to wait and see.
J.A. Bayona (‘The Orphanage’) will direct the first two episodes and also serve as executive producer, alongside his partner, Belén Atienza, Payne and McKay. Other Executive Producers are Lindsey Weber (’10 Cloverfield Lane’), Bruce Richmond (‘Game of Thrones’), Gene Kelly (‘Boardwalk Empire’), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (‘Breaking Bad’), Jason Cahill (‘The Sopranos’), and Justin Doble (‘Stranger Things’).
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.