Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings show is no small endeavor, and with the amount of money the company is willing to spend on it, no one is surprised executives are taking their time in making important decisions regarding its production. That said, things just took a significant step forward from a behind-the-scenes standpoint as Amazon Studios' head Jennifer Salke announced the first two men who will have a hand in developing the upcoming series. J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay will helm some responsibility for the upcoming adventure, which Salke hopes to see air around 2021.
Jennifer Salke's announcement was somewhat cryptic, as while the recently promoted head of Amazon Studios announced J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay's involvement in the series at the TCA summer press tour (via THR), she didn't specify what role the duo would play in development. Payne and McKay are known in Hollywood currently for writing the screenplay for Star Trek 4, as well as aiding in the adaptation of Disney's upcoming Jungle Cruise movie. The announcement could mean the two are on board as showrunners, writers, or both for the Lord of the Rings series, none of which would be entirely surprising.
J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay's hiring is a major leap forward in the development process for Amazon's Lord of the Rings, although as mentioned above, it'll still be a long time before the show premieres. Jennifer Salke indicated she'd like production to start within the next two years, with a premiere date set for some time in 2021. Salke admitted many camps would like to see the show come a year earlier, but appeared to indicate she doesn't see that happening due to the various moving parts in this process.
One of those moving parts Amazon is dealing with is Peter Jackson, who Jennifer Salke confirmed the company is in talks with. Currently, there's no word as to what his level of involvement in the upcoming series will be, which could be why J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay's titles are a bit ambiguous at present. That's not to say Payne or McKay's roles are insignificant compared to Jackson's, however, as Salke and Amazon's head of genre programming Sharon Tal Yguado apparently met with heaps of writers on the road to hiring them.
One does not simply walk into a lucrative television deal and turn it around overnight, so it's understandable Amazon's Lord of the Rings series is taking a bit to develop. Keep track of what's happening on television in the meantime with our summer premiere guide, which is still jam-packed with plenty of shows to keep audiences entertained. Those cord-cutters more curious as to what's on streaming can head over to our Netflix and Amazon premiere guides. For more on Lord of the Rings, check out which former actor from the films wants no part of the new show.