After extensive delays in filming due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, filming on the pilot episode of Amazon's The Lord of the Rings series has wrapped. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmmaker J.A. Bayona was behind the camera for the first episode and revealed the news on Instagram in a new post. "This is my last photo in New Zealand," his post reads. "I have no words to thank this extraordinary land and its beautiful people for taking me in this last year and a half. My heart feels a little kiwi now and I can't wait to be back."
While some have taken this to mean that the entire series has wrapped filming, that's not the case. TheOneRing.net, in response to outlets that have ran with Bayona's Instagram post as a full series wrap, has revealed that only the pilot has finished filming and that production on the remaining episodes begins in January of 2021. Even with the tremendous response to COVID-19 in New Zealand that has resulted in productions restarting filming much earlier than series and films domestically or even in Europe, it's taken until now to wrap on the very first episode of the series which has Amazon investing a lot of money.
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It was previously reported that Amazon beat out Netflix on nabbing the television rights to the series, spending $250 million just to secure the rights alone. It would later be reported that with the cost of casting, filming, visual effects, and paying the above-the-line producers that the series could cost more than $1 billion. In an era where Peak TV and the Streaming Wars make headlines every day online, the arms race for securing the most notable IPs possible that aren't tied up at a studio level is one that streamers are willing and eager to throw investor's money at.
Previously confirmed cast members for the television series include Robert Aramayo (young Ned on Game of Thrones), Ismael Cruz Córdova (The Mandalorian), Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark of Game of Thrones), Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman. The series is written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers. Bryan Cogman of Game of Thrones is on board as a consulting producer. A previous report revealed that some characters from The Lord of the Rings proper will be included with Sauron, Elrond, and Galadriel all reportedly appearing.
The show has already been renewed for a second season on Amazon Prime before production had even begun, and was previously expected to debut its first season in 2021 but it's unclear if the timetable has now been delayed.