Last week it was reported that Amazon have won the rights to produce a multi-series The Lord of the Rings television adaptation, following a battle with Netflix for the £189million ($250million) deal with the Tolkien Estate. Game of Thrones producer HBO was earlier priced out of the competition.
The series will likely be the most expensive show ever made, with an estimated production budget of $150million, knocking The Crown off its top spot of $130million, along with surpassing Game of Thrones – which costs around $10millon an episode. The potential here is unbelievable and with a budget of this size it will become Amazon’s flagship show, but the streaming service is so far yet to prove itself in the same way as their seasoned competitors (and now we will all have to buy Amazon Prime, instead of sponging of that one mate with a Netflix account…).
"The series will likely be the most expensive show ever made, with an estimated production budget of $150million"
However, after much speculation and fear that they would simply remake The Lord of the Rings, some faith has been restored as the company announced the new series would focus on events taking place ‘before The Fellowship of the Ring.’ Hooray! The Lord of the Rings is just the tiniest glimmer into the vast horde of material Tolkien left behind, and finally fans can hope to see some of this done justice.
Think of The Silmarillion. The events of the Peter Jackson films are mentioned in passing, in this history of Middle-Earth spanning from its very creation to beyond the events of LOTR. Undertaking a TV adaptation which could truly do this justice would be a mighty undertaking, but a big budget Game of Thrones style epic could potentially pull it off. It would need extreme care and attention to detail over the course of many, many series, but if done right it could be the single greatest work of fantasy to ever make it to our screens.
"Why not focus on the more detailed tales? The Children of Hurin, for instance"
If The Silmarillion were too much for the winning bidder - which whilst disappointing, would be not be shameful in the slightest - why not focus on the more detailed tales? The Children of Hurin, for instance, an epic tale beginning with ‘The Battle of Unnumbered Tears,’ which hugely dwarfs any conflict in LOTR.
Let’s just hope that Amazon learns from Peter Jackson’s mistakes with The Hobbit. Spend a little of that enormous budget on costumes, not awful CGI. More importantly, remember that we don’t need pointless romantic plot lines just to satisfy horny nerds worldwide (sorry Tauriel, you were a good character but possibly the only woman to ever turn Orlando Bloom down for a hairy four-foot member of a different species… I’m not buying it). If inter-species love scenes are what makes fantasy worth watching these days, then make Beren and Lúthien, Tolkien’s original epic romance far predating Aragorn and Arwen’s.
"Spend a little of that enormous budget on costumes, not awful CGI"
But please Amazon, whatever you do, stay away from the LOTR. Peter Jackson did it only sixteen years ago, and he did it incredibly well. Don’t make Sam carry Frodo all that way up Mount Doom again - albeit a different Sam, Frodo and likely a spectacular, super-HD special-effects volcano. It won’t be the same, and even if it is, my heartstrings can’t take that again.