Amazon and Warner Bros. Television are in talks for a series based on J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, Variety reports.
WB and the Tolkein estate are said to be shopping the property around, with Amazon emerging as the early frontrunner. No deal has yet been made, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is said to be personally involved in the negotiations with WB TV and the estate of late LOTR author, J.R.R. Tolkein - a highly unusual procedure, which may convey just how serious Aamazon is about closing a deal.
Lord of the Rings was a major franchise cash-cow for Warner Bros. in the early 2000s, thanks to Peter Jackson boundary-pushing filmmaking. The franchise lost some momentum when Jackson returned for the prequel film series The Hobbit, to much less fan, critical, and box office acclaim. Behind the scenes, the success of the brand led to a dispute between Warner Bros. and the Tolkein Estate back in 2012, which has apparently reached more amicable grounds, if a deal like this is being considered.
For Tolkein fans, the prospect of getting Lord of the Rings as a streaming series may prove to be a double-edged sword (pun). On the one hand, the longer form of storytelling would allow for a lot more authentic retelling of the novels, in full detail. However, the budget and production values for the series could be much lower than that of a feature film. The question is: if the series looks on par (or better) than Jackson's now-dated films, will fans object?
Amazon would score a big win if it lands the series; something like Lord of the Rings would net hordes of new subscribers from all over the world.
We'll keep you updated as the situation develops.