Amazon Prime Announces 'Lord of the Rings' Prequel

Elijah Wood

Rather, the series will introduce new stories that are set before The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the trilogy. Peter Jackson's LOTR movie trilogy is 558 minutes (!) altogether, and that's not counting the extended version.

Amazon has acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, and the Internet giant has already committed to a multi-season TV series rooted in author J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth setting.

Amazon's announcement notes that the deal with the Tolkien estate "includes a potential additional spin-off series".

The deal between the Tolkien estate and Amazon for the new The Lord of the Rings TV series did not come cheap.

New Line Cinema, the Tolkien Estate and Trust and Harper Collins would be working with Amazon to produce the series. That is, until you remember they're all based on one book.

But even if trends shift unexpectedly and there is another massive breakout hit, does it seem likely that the biggest show to follow Thrones will be something that so closely resembles and inspired it? Like how Fox's Gotham can tell the story of young Bruce Wayne but not Batman, how FX's Legion and Fox's The Gifted have to avoid using the term "X-Men" even though they're X-Men projects, or how Syfy's upcoming series based on The Purge films will be set in between actual Purges. Like any good television show, it looks like we'll have to stay tuned.

Ian Mc Kellen
Ian Mc Kellen

Middle Earth is coming to TV.

It is also a proven pop culture commodity.

Whatever Amazon chooses to adapt, it certainly won't be hurting for material.

A "freemium" platform isn't the same as pay services like HBO Now or CBS All Access-but both of those services were launched and pushed with the enticing promise of Game of Thrones and new Star Trek episodes.

What the series does have, however, is an eye-popping price tag, with Deadline reporting that the rights for the franchise alone cost in the $200 to $250 million range - and that's before any production costs or cast salaries are factored in.

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