All that's old is new again on TV, and after Game of Thrones ends its run next year, audiences will be able to get their fantasy fix with the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series (slash universe). Amazon's initial development announcement just made waves last week, but the studio is already placing some huge bets on turning J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings into a small screen franchise. Amazon officially put in a two-season commitment for Lord of the Rings, with a bonus stipulation allowing for spinoff development.
The dust still hasn't settled on everyone's arguments from last week about whether a Lord of the Rings TV show is a good or a bad idea, but no matter, since we're getting at least two seasons of it at Amazon in the future. The streaming service's TV library currently doesn't have any game-changing hits, and Amazon is in need of some popularity and acclaim along the lines of Netflix's Stranger Things or Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale. A series based on some of the most beloved and successful novels of all times could make that happen, assuming it's handled correctly.
Amazon's announcement does clarify that this Lord of the Rings series will showcase a brand new set of adventures for its characters, and it will be set in a timeline preceding that of The Fellowship of the Ring. It's not clear if these new adventures will borrow elements from any other Lord of the Rings projects and stories that have come out in the many years after the books' first publications, or if everything will be fresh to fans' eyes and ears. Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate, says the show will cover "previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings," so it's possible some of the author's unused ideas would be utilized.
Interestingly, the announcement makes it clear that the Lord of the Rings deal also makes room for an additional spinoff series, should things prove successful enough to warrant one. One might immediately make the comparison to The Hobbit, and it would be interesting if the potential offshoot was a new take on just the Hobbit-verse, but I'm betting this new corner of the fictional universe will have more than enough characters and locations to justify spinoffs.
While no specific creative writers or producers were mentioned, Lord of the Rings will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema. Expect for some big names to get attached to this one, both on the writing and the directing side, since it'll be hard-to-impossible for this TV series to outshine Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Amazon, which recently picked up another adaptation in the Seth Rogen-produced take on Garth Ennis' The Boys, will likely not have Lord of the Rings ready for Prime subscribers for quite a while, but we'll be waiting to see all the announcements coming in the future. In the meantime, check out our fall TV schedule to see what's yet to premiere in 2017, and for more about all things streaming, take a listen to CinemaBlend's own Cord Cutter podcast.