Amazon Prime Video is betting BIG on The Lord of the Rings for its streaming service. A dynamite creative team has already been assembled behind the scenes with a growing roster of actors all set to star in the new TV series based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. It should have been expected that Amazon had high hopes for the series given their hefty price tag for the series, but their confidence in what could be a "Game of Thrones killer" is without a doubt as they've given an early season 2 renewal to the series.
News of the early renewal comes from Deadline who reports that while pre-production on the show's first season is moving along that Amazon decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on more episodes. The writer's room for the series will begin breaking the story for season 2 after concluding work on the first. Amazon's initial deal for the rights to the Tolkien text included a multi-season commitment, so it shouldn't make tonight's news that much a surprise; however, the commitment was never set in stone and as the trade notes "each consecutive season after the first has to be formally greenlighted by the streaming network."
The trade also offered an update on the time table for the series, reporting that that production on Lord of the Rings will go on a "4 to 5 month" hiatus after the first two episodes have been shot. This break will allow the writing staff to map out the second season and re-evaluate anything from those first two episodes.
Production on the Lord of the Rings series will begin soon in New Zealand, featuring a cast that includes Will Poulter as Beldor and female lead Tyra, played by Australian actress Arkella Kavenagh. Joseph Rawle of Game of Thrones will play the series' lead villain, Oren. Writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay will showrun the series with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmmaker J.A. Bayona directing the initial episodes.
Details of the series are still in flux and have been heavily guarded, but the assumption is that the stories will be set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, but before the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sauron, then, will likely be a lingering presence but not the series' principal antagonist.
Over the summer at the Television Critics Association press tour, Amazon revealed the full creative team behind its upcoming The Lord of the Rings television series. Newly-revealed or confirmed talent include executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Sharon Tal Yguado; writer and executive producer Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad); writer and executive producer Jason Cahill (The Sopranos); writer and executive producer Justin Doble (Stranger Things); consulting producers Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) and Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4); producer Ron Ames (The Aviator); writer and co-producer Helen Shang (Hannibal); and writing consultant Glenise Mullins.
Amazon also announced costume designer Kate Hawley (Suicide Squad); production designer Rick Heinrichs (Star Wars: The Last Jedi); visual effects supervisor Jason Smith (The Revenant); Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey; and illustrator and concept artist John Howe.
The series will go into production in 2020. No official premiere date has been set but Amazon is aiming for a 2021 debut.