Finally, Amazon has given fans the first look at the upcoming The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) series as well revealing a release date of 2 September 2022. While that’s a long way off from now, the series has been in the works since 2017 (without the involvement of Peter Jackson) and is set to be the most expensive TV show production in history.
Filming in New Zealand wrapped up on Monday for the highly-anticipated series, which started in February 2020 and was temporarily halted by the pandemic before resuming again in September. The show’s Twitter account decided to tease fans with its first official image depicting a figure overlooking a white city and far in the background are two curious trees. This got fans speculating that the show might take place in Valinor, home of the immortal Valar.
For context, the untitled Amazon LOTR series is set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, where we get to witness old and new characters resist a newly resurgent evil during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Amazon says that new episodes will be released weekly on Prime Video instead of dumping the whole season all at once ala Netflix.
Amazon bought the television rights for LOTR for USD$250 million (~RM1.055 billion) in November 2017 — just. the. rights. It was then reported that the streaming company would be spending USD$450 million (~RM1.9 billion) for the first season alone, with a second season already confirmed before filming even started. The New Zealand government seems to be helping with the hefty bill as they are providing the production with a NZ$160 million (~RM463 million) tax rebate in exchange for Amazon providing training to New Zealand workers and partner with New Zealand businesses on various projects.
The tech giant was even taking full advantage of the expensive rights by developing an online LOTR video game, but it was eventually cancelled due to a dispute between Amazon and Tencent. The show’s ensemble cast includes Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones), Charles Edwards (The Crown), Will Fletcher (The Girl Who Fell), Amelie Child-Villiers (The Machine), newcomer Beau Cassidy, and many others. Amazon’s Prime Video is available in Malaysia and costs USD$5.99 (~RM25.28) per month.