Earlier today came the surprising announcement from Amazon Prime Video that their still yet-to-be-titled Lord of the Rings TV series will be leaving Middle-earth, not in terms of setting but in terms of where they shoot. Much like Peter Jackson's original Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and The Hobbit trilogy as well, the first season of the upcoming series was shot in New Zealand but for the already announced second season production will be moving to the UK. A practical reason was given by the studio for why they decided to do this, but that doesn't mean fans have to like it.
The best reaction to the news came from The Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, who starred as the hobbit Frodo in the original trilogy, who retweeted the news this afternoon simply adding the facepalm emoji. Other fans had some notable reactions as well, one user wrote "But everyone knows Middle Earth is in New Zealand." Another hilarious one is Sweet Tooth creator and executive producer Jim Mickle who tweeted: "Ahem, we're still here #sweettooth," adding the flag of New Zealand to his tweet."
According to a press release, the shift from New Zealand to the UK "aligns with the studio's strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K." Even if that's true it doesn't take into account how the scenery of New Zealand has designed the look of Middle-earth on screen for over twenty years now. Even though the series isn't affiliated with Peter Jackson's movies, they'll still share that visual language, at least for one season.
🤦🏻♂️ https://t.co/rq6OES6zde— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) August 12, 2021
To his credit, Wood has remained one of the cast members of Peter Jackson's original Lord of the Rings series that has stayed connected to the series and its fandom; in fact earlier this year he appeared in a Lord of the Rings-themed ad for AT&T during the Super Bowl. The actor has also previously sounded off on his feelings about the Amazon TV show,
"They're calling it 'The Lord of the Rings,' but I think that's slightly misleading," Wood revealed to IndieWire, "From what I understand, the material they are working on exists chronologically further back in history in the lore of Lord of the Rings or Middle-Earth than any characters represented in Lord of the Rings."
It is worth noting that Amazon's series does not yet have a title, but Wood is correct that the naming conventions would be off if they shared a title with the films and books.
Amazon's yet-to-be titled The Lord of the Rings series will premiere its first season on Friday, September 2, 2022, on Prime Video, over a year from now, with new episodes being released weekly.