Archive for the ‘Amazon TV series’ Category
Out of the recent interview with the Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, more details are being reported by various outlets about the series direction, the Tolkien estate involvement and talks with Peter Jackson.
Salke inherited a number of projects in the works, none bigger than a forthcoming series adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” the subject of a massive deal last year that Bezos involved himself personally in. According to Salke, that deal only officially closed last month. But Amazon has been meeting with writers. Salke herself spent three hours with Tolkien’s grandson Simon Tolkien, and the next step is for representatives of the Tolkien estate to meet with writers.
“It’s a partnership,” she said of Amazon’s deal with the estate. “They have some lines in the play on this on strategy and on vision. The great news about that is that they’re actually really thoughtful and smart, as you would expect.”
The Tolkien deal covers most, but not all of the material connected to the author’s Middle Earth saga. Salke said that it is still too early to say what shape, exactly, the series will take. But, she added, “It’s not a remaking of the movies, and it’s not a whole new thing. It’s something in between. It’s not, ‘Oh, it’s “Lord of the Rings” but you don’t recognize anything in it,’ but it’s not totally familiar to you either. So it’s original.”
DEADLINE: The Lord of the Rings series. Have you locked in writers for that yet?
SALKE: Despite all the noise around Lord of the Rings, the deal only closed like a month ago. But in the meantime, I’ve sat with Simon Tolkien for a couple of hours, and (Amazon TV executive) Sharon (Tal Yguado) has spent tons of time with them. She had spent the last couple of months meeting anyone who had said, I’m really passionate about it and I want to get in and talk about the show and what’s possible. I think you’ll see us honing in on a strategy in the next month, which might involve a group of writers. Clearly, there’ll be someone in charge, but it involves the estate and Peter Jackson, and there’s a lot of conversations.
DEADLINE: Is Peter Jackson involved in the series?
SALKE: The Peter Jackson conversations, right now we’re right in the middle of them. It’s like, how much do you want to be involved, how little? I know there’s been some discussion, and he’s even said some things, but as far as I’m aware, the latest is that we’re just in a conversation with him about how much or how little he would be involved.
DEADLINE: Are you working on one Lord of the Rings series or multiple ones?
SALKE: One. At the moment, one big series.
DEADLINE: With the same characters as the movies?
SALKE: I think you can know that we’re not remaking the movies, but we’re also not starting from scratch. So, it’ll be characters you love.
DEADLINE: For example?
SALKE: I can’t give that out, I don’t have anything for it.
DEADLINE: Where will you shoot the series? Peter Jackson has got his whole Middle Earth built in New Zealand.
SALKE: I think we might be in New Zealand. I don’t know, but we’re going to have to go somewhere interesting that could provide those locations in a really authentic way, because we want it to look incredible. There’s no shortage of ambition for the project. We’ll go where we need to go to make it happen.
As previously rumored, we have some idea of who the “characters you love” may be involved in the series. What do you make of the other details emerging?
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series
The Hollywood Reporter has a new interview with the Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke. Included are intriguing details about “The Lord of the Rings” series they are developing including the possible involvement of Peter Jackson and a targeted air date in 2021.
The scripted narrative about Amazon has been that Jeff Bezos wanted his version of Game of Thrones. Have you spoken with him about that and how you can deliver on that goal?
All of us would love a big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game. We’re really excited about Lord of the Rings. Despite all the chatter about it, the deal just closed a month ago. We’ve been talking to writers. We have an estate that’s very active. I’ve spent three hours with Simon Tolkien. There’s a lot of moving parts with it. We’ll have some game plan to move forward with very soon. Then there’s great genre stuff and tons of stuff in the pipeline. And we just picked up The Expanse, which Jeff was so excited about. We are going to have lots of big shows. They’re not all going to be genre sci-fi. We’re also going to have some big addictive female shows. We’re looking for our next big show that women also can’t stop talking about.
One of the clauses in landing Lord of the Rings is that it must be in production within two years. Will it make that?
It’ll be in production in two years; [on the air in] 2021 is the hope. But there are other people who wish it was 2020.
What is Peter Jackson’s involvement?
We’re in conversations with him that I think are very amicable about how much involvement he wants and what kind. We haven’t figured out exactly what that is yet. He may say he is involved or he’s not involved. We’re still very much in conversation with him about what kind of involvement he would propose.
When and if he signs on, does the search for a showrunner then begin?
No. We are currently talking to writers. I have sat with three or four different groups of writers. Sharon Tal Yguado has met with many more than that. When we announced it, many agents called and with clients and British writers have come calling. There have been a lot of informational meetings about the material and about the scope of what we can do. My hope would be to put together a group of talented people, which will obviously have a leader who can embark on this big ambitious endeavor.
What do you think about the talk that the Tolkien estate is “active”, a 2021 air date, or the potential involvement or not of Peter Jackson with this upcoming TV series?
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series
J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt, soon to be Tolkien
Tolkien fandom finds itself with an embarrassment of riches in 2018. The Tolkien Biopic has wrapped principal photography and is currently in post-production. There will be a new book out featuring Gondolin, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The most recent update about the Amazon Studios’ TV series is now confirmed to be a 5 season commitment. And then word starts to filter through that there are current negotiations for an actual Middle-earth Theme Park. (more…)
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Rumours Spy News, Silmarillion, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family, Warner Bros.
Illustration by: Tim Peacock
The Hollywood Reporter has published a new article detailing how Amazon beat out Netflix for the rights to produce a new television series based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’. They are committed to producing at least 5 seasons at an estimated cost of $1 billion US. While there is still no start date, the article does say that -per Amazon’s contract- they must start production within 2 years. There is also no news yet on cast, scripts, or filming locations – stay tuned to TheOneRing.net for more information!
Do you have a casting suggestion, or a storyline that you’d like to see the new show take on? Please let us know in the comments section, or visit our message boards to discuss!
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Lord of the Rings, TheOneRing.net Community
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that on Sunday morning, April 1st you woke up to a bunch of internet websites doing their best to fool you into thinking their words were true, and TORn is no different. We did post two separate stories that were lacking in the veracity department. One post claimed we were moving to a paid subscription business model, which on it’s own is intriguing, but because some message board members were involved, there were links to supporting messages. In fact, the bulk of the story sounded quite reasonable, until you got to the highest subscription level, ‘Mithril’ and one perk is the ability rent a Nazgul, for no more than 2 hours a year, and the reminder to book early for the Halloween timeframe and that TORn is not responsible for terror or destruction. OK, that last bit had me cackling, anyone else? No? Just me then.
The other story, believe it or not, actually fooled our own, beloved Webmaster Calisuri. He can be forgiven, it was clear a lot of people wanted the story about Guillermo Del Toro working on the Amazon Middle-earth stories to be true, which is what made this story so much more believable. There was nothing outlandish in the story, it was about a current subject that TORn had just covered the week before at Wondercon, and it fed into the deep fan desire to see the Middle-earth that could have been. And while we want to come clean with you, the readers of our little website, we especially want to reach out to Guillermo Del Toro to assure him there was no malice intended with this April Fools joke. We knew fans would fall for it, or want to fall for it, because GDT is so beloved as a storyteller and creator of amazingly detailed creative worlds, and in the end, the reach of this story just says how much GDT is appreciated in this fandom. This guy wasn’t fooled.
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, April Fools Day, Creations, Fans, Fool, Fool of a Took, Guillermo Del Toro, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien
In a big shake-up for the largest fansite of the author J. R. R. Tolkien, TheOneRing.net (TORn) founders have announced they are about to begin beta-testing a subscription service to better align with the business model of Amazon.com for the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series: a “TORn-Prime,” if you will.
“It’s something we’ve been working toward for a while because we want to continue to deliver a top-class website that services the fans of Tolkien,” says TORn’s new spokesperson, Sarah Mcleod. “We will roll out a beta test with our message boards, then evaluate a model for the entire site.” While the timeline is still under discussion, preliminary plans are for Barliman’s chat and the Home Page to begin offering premium subscriptions during the June-August, 2018 time-frame. The once-popular Green Books will also be revived for premium subscribers.
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Barlimans, Fool, J.R.R. Tolkien, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien
When Amazon Studios first announced their big production deal last November for a Lord of the Rings television series, there was just one thing missing, a big name attached to the project. There was no Producer, Showrunner or even a Writer or team of Writers to indicate the direction these stories might take and give confidence to fans that Middle-earth would be in good hands.
It has been confirmed that the Guillermo Del Toro has signed on with Amazon Studios, in conjunction with his Tequila Gang production company, to Executive Produce and write this iteration of Middle-earth. He brings with him his co-writer, Chuck Hogan from The Strain. Del Toro’s long time manager, Gary Ungar says that they have already begun identifying and sifting through possible stories that exist within the Appendices, separating out those that are more fleshed out in other Tolkien properties. Because the deal with the Tolkien Estate and Trust is still in flux, they are currently only looking at storylines they know won’t be a legal issue so they can get down to writing.
During that time waiting for The Hobbit project to finally get going, Guillermo Del Toro spent nearly two years breaking down The Hobbit and working with pre-production designs for the story he was helping to craft. His visual style and ability to create wild and very unique looks was one of the reasons fans came to really anticipate Del Toro’s take on Middle-earth. We wanted to see what he would do with the Elves and Dwarves and even Men, and we especially wanted to see what he would have come up with for all the monsters. When he finally had to leave the project because it was dragging on too long waiting for a green light, fans felt a sense of loss and mourned The Hobbit that could have been.
This is why Del Toro is perfect for this project. He already has a deep knowledge of the source material, including what can and can not be included legally, and he’s got designs that never got the see the light of day. Because Peter Jackson and WETA are not going to be involved in the Amazon Studios production, there is little reason to maintain strict adherence to the design motifs put in place for the various races. The only design features required are within Tolkien’s books, and beyond that, Del Toro will get to finally let loose with his own, distinct look and feel with very little constraint. What will his Numenor look like? Will we see a Northern Kingdom or meet a young Aragorn, as Thorongil, as he journey’s about Middle-earth learning the skills he will later need to become King?
Amazon has already announced that it will be developing a Lord of the Rings series set before the events of the original films. The company reportedly spent $250 million to acquire the rights alone and, according to that same report, marketing and productions costs for two seasons could raise the investment to $500 million. It is still unclear if these stories will be told in a series of anthology like episodes or story arcs, or if there will be a much wider, more epic scope to the narrative.
Amazon Studios will produce the series in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, book publishers HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Creations, Director news, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Fool of a Took, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Rumors Spy News, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family
Spring is about to roll in, bringing with it longer days, milder temperatures, trees in blossom and flowers bursting out in a riot of color, and the ensuing allergies. Spring also brings Tolkien Reading Day on March 25th, and in Anaheim, California it brings Wondercon, the little sister to San Diego International Comic-con.
This year, we have our panel scheduled on Sunday, March 25th, coinciding with Tolkien Reading day, so do expect some reading of the Professor’s text during the presentation. This will be a round up of all things Middle-earth, as you can tell from the title: “Dispatches from Middle-earth: What’s new with all things Tolkien” Here are the complete details:
Dispatches from Middle-earth: What’s new with all things Tolkien
Sunday March 25, 2018 – – 10:30am-11:30am, North 200B
TORn’s Wondercon schedule
TheOneRing.net staffers discuss new Tolkien projects coming this year and beyond. They will start off with a discussion about the Tolkien Biopic that recently wrapped filming and then head straight into fact, fiction, and rumors surrounding the new Middle-earth stories coming from Amazon Studios. As in previous years, WonderCon coincides with Tolkien Reading Day, so they will be reading snippets of the Professor’s words to further their discussions. Also celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the release of Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
North in the room listing refers to the new North building, which is near the Arena, do make sure to have a map or have looked at one to find the new rooms being used this year. While it is expanding, this convention is still so much smaller, more intimate and easier to navigate than SDCC. Our panel is one of the first on Sunday morning, but parking will still be a bit challenging, so give yourself plenty of time to arrive, find parking and get through security and find us in the new building.
We are still researching and finalizing all the little tidbits that will appear in our presentation. But you can expect a little talk about the 15th anniversary of the release of ROTK, info on the Tolkien biopic that has now wrapped principal photography, and the latest info from Amazon Studios regarding the expansion of the Middle-earth universe. 2018 is shaping up to be a marvelous year for fans of Tolkien, with plenty more to come in the years after.
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Conventions, Events, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Meet Ups, New Line Cinema, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, Tolkien, WonderCon
The recent, completely Unexpected news of new Middle-earth stories coming from Amazon Studios has left Tolkien fandom in a bit of a Party mood. There haven’t been many details about which stories will be told, what the format will be, and who will actually be designing and managing this whole process. Do these Middle-earth stories need a Showrunner, or has Amazon Studios just not announced that they already have someone on the team?
Amazon is purported to have paid between $200 to $250 million just for the rights to the story before any costs for development, talent and production are taken into account. This is considered somewhat risky since there is no concept and no creative leader at the helm, and no characters or story to build upon. The only news to come out since the announcement is that Sir Ian McKellen has said he would be happy to don the Grey, pointy hat again.
We humbly submit our Top Ten list, in alphabetical order, of genre writers and Showrunners for consideration by Amazon Studios, and you, the fans. Do you agree or disagree? Did we miss anyone? Sound off in the discussion section below. (more…)
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Characters, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien
Ian McKellen has weighed on the new Amazon Studios TV series based on “The Lord of the Rings”. In a recent interview with Graham Norton, he said that he hasn’t been asked to reprise his role as Gandalf but is open to the idea!
From the Hollywood Reporter:
‘Lord of the Rings’: Could Ian McKellen Reprise Gandalf for Amazon?
DECEMBER 19, 2017 12:42pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
The actor addresses a potential role with the streamer’s forthcoming TV series. Ian McKellen’s days playing Gandalf may not be over.
As Amazon Studios plots a TV series based on Lord of the Rings, the actor behind the 7,000-year-old character indicated in a new radio interview that he would be open to reprising his role from the Peter Jackson features.
“I haven’t been asked,” McKellen told British host Graham Norton when asked whether he’d been approached for the role of Gandalf in the planned two-season Lord of the Rings TV series.
McKellen, who played the wizard in all three Lord of the Rings features as well as prequel The Hobbit, seemed surprised that another actor could embody the role and told Norton: “What do you mean, ‘Another Gandalf’?!’ And while McKellen, 78, has yet to be approached for a potential role in the Amazon drama, he joked that he isn’t too old to play the part of a 7,000-year-old wizard.
If the character of Gandalf were to appear in the new TV series, can anyone imagine another actor filling those grey robes?
Posted in Amazon TV series
In a fascinating article, TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson gives us some invaluable insight into some of the legal wranglings which may have led to this new The Lord of the Rings television series deal:
The announcement that Amazon will be producing a multi-season television series based on The Lord of the Rings has caused much speculation and not a little confusion. One common assumption seems to be that the television rights to the two hobbit novels were sold to United Artists in 1969, when it obtained the production and distribution rights to make film adaptations. (more…)
Posted in Amazon TV series, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.
It turns out a “Lord of the Rings” TV series isn’t the biggest Tolkien news of the week or the month or the year.
Christopher Tolkien, son and literary heir of J.R.R. Tolkien, resigned from the Tolkien Estate. And his departure changes everything.
Christopher is 93 and just this year edited and published one of his father’s works “Beren and Luthien,” which as even casual Tolkienites know, refers to his parents with the names of those characters adorning their tombstones.
In the preface of the book he writes, “this is (preemptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” It seems he was planning to retire already. Personally, learning the greatest Tolkien scholar, and a man who has honored his father in an exemplary way, has left the care of his father’s legacy to others feels like reading the end of LOTR where Galadriel, Elrond and the other great elves leave Middle-earth. There is a keen sadness, but admiration and beauty as well.
But even if you aren’t sentimental, he deserves any Tolkien fan’s deep respect. But it bears repeating, this changes everything.
The news reached me by friend Michael Martinez via Twitter on his blog. Martinez has an exceptional mind for Tolkien.
He understood perfectly that Christopher R. Tolkien’s departure signals the end of an era.
“With Christopher’s departure as an officer of the Tolkien Estate (which was incorporated in 2011), the long-awaited “rights frenzy” for Tolkien properties may soon begin,” he wrote.
Yes, and it seemingly has already happened. This is a definite piece of the puzzle of the recent news of the Amazon Video deal. I had heard through rock solid, but not reportable sources several years ago that other members of the estate were much more willing to negotiate J.R.R. Tolkien’s properties while Christopher was far more interested in preserving legacy than money.
The settlement between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate settled an $80 million lawsuit July 3. Part of the statement the studio released at the time was unusually upbeat for an entity that just paid out big money:
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”
The future mentioned in that statement is this week and beyond, and it was obviously in the works then. According to a U.K. government website, Christopher resigned on Aug. 31. One would expect formal resignations of this nature take time to manage legally, so it also was in the works for some time I suspect. What I wouldn’t give to have been in the room for that passing of the torch.
So in quick fashion, after the seismic change, the estate has sold the television rights for book “The Lord of the Rings.” Warners paid the court dispute so there would be a relationship moving forward and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rewarded both entities handsomely.
Another important thing to note here, and another piece of the puzzle, is that the television rights to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were NOT sold when J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights in 1969. Those rights were for motion pictures. TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson informed our staff about this. She has first-hand documentation and as author of “The Frodo Franchise,” knows this stuff as well as anybody. And obviously you can and should buy her book on Amazon.com. I believe another TORn news article is expected on just this point.
This explains why the estate was so involved in the Amazon deal; they were selling something. It also explains why Middle-earth Enterprises was absent from the latest news. (Correction: This originally said Tolkien Enterprises, a name previously used that is not correct. The story has been updated.)
But the bigger ramifications of all this are far greater than a multi-season Amazon series. The new leadership of the estate seem much more willing to deal Tolkien properties than Christopher was and this confirms my well placed sources.
This opens up Tolkien and Middle-earth as possible franchises in the same way that Harry Potter’s world is a place you can visit at Universal Studios or that Disney will soon have a Star Wars area. There are few properties in the world that can be talked about in the same way as Middle-earth. Warner Bros. see the value and so does Amazon.
That doesn’t mean the Tolkien Estate will move toward making the rights to “Beren And Luthien” available but it does mean my wish to produce “The Silmarillion” as HBO series is slightly less impossible than it was before. That is what has changed really. Things once impossible are now possible.
The estate may elect to only allow more content based solely on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Or they may carefully cultivate the entire library.
Because of the depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, there is a virtually endless fountain of material. As Martinez points out in his blog, what will be produced is essentially fan fiction. As Disney has expanded the Galaxy far-far away, and HBO is planning its growth of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros world, so too could Amazon and Warner Bros expand Middle-earth.
Much of that possibility rests with the estate but just Appendix A in “The Lord of the Rings” offers a wealth of content. The imagination soars with possibilities.
This will no doubt anger many fans and delight many others, as the Amazon deal already has. Some don’t want to see the compromise of the author’s vision. Funny enough, this also seems to have a whole new batch of fans upset because they don’t want Amazon’s product to compromise Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s vision.
The officers of the Tolkien Estate still count among their numbers Tolkien’s youngest child Priscilla Tolkien and other grandchildren in the family.
This is over-long already but a final word on Christopher Tolkien’s departure. Here is a man who is a treasure, and who carries in his heart and mind the voice and essence of his father. The significance of his departure cannot be over stated.
I close with another poignant passage he wrote about his father in the preface of his final contribution to the Tolkien legacy, “Beren and Luthien.”
“In a letter to me on the subject of my mother, written in the year after her death, which was also the year before his own, he wrote of his overwhelming sense of bereavement, and of his wish to have Luthien inscribed beneath her name on the grave. He returned in that letter … to the origin of the tale of Beren and Luthien in a small woodland glade filled with hemlock flowers near Roos in Yorkshire, where she danced; and he said: ‘But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.’
Thank you Christopher Tolkien. We are going to miss you and your strength and determination to contribute to and preserve the legacy of your father.
Posted in Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Studios, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.