Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of The Lord of the Rings, and pre-production has started.
Production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. “We knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
The theatrical adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels were directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson and primarily shot there. Produced by New Line Cinema, the three films earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide and garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards. This new series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“The scale of Amazon Studios’ series, based on The Lord of the Rings, will create significant economic benefits and employment opportunities,” said Kerry Prendergast, chair of the New Zealand Film Commission. “The New Zealand Film Commission, along with the broader industry and New Zealand partners, welcome the opportunities Amazon Studios will bring to New Zealand.”
NZFC chief executive Annabelle Sheehan said that the series will utilize vendors from across New Zealand, and include location shooting in several regions. The main production base will be in Auckland.
Little is known about the plot of the Lord of the Rings series beyond the fact it will explore new storylines preceding the first story in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. The show’s official Twitter account sent out an image of a map, along with two messages: “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,” as well as “Welcome to the Second Age.” In the Tolkien mythology, the Second Age was the time in which the Rings of Power, including Sauron’s One Ring, came into existence.
We are likely to hear more about Amazon’s take on The Lord of the Rings in the coming months, with a release date coming next year. Until then, we look forward to returning to Middle-Earth once more.