Rooted in Middle-earth, the pitch itself is said to be similar to Game of Thrones in terms of scale and scope, and will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Several networks had been approached by the Tolkien estate earlier in the year, but it was ultimately Amazon that shelled out close to $250 million for LotR‘s global rights, which is said to include the possibility of an additional spinoff. Like we alluded to before, this has the potential to become a Game of Thrones-level franchise for Amazon Studios.
Headed up by the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos, no details were disclosed at the time of writing, but that hasn’t stopped industry insiders from labeling the record-setting deal as “insane,” as that alleged $250 million price tag doesn’t account for the sky-high expenses that often come hand-in-hand with a big-budget fantasy series – think $100m-$150m per season. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why many other networks who were approached about the project had to pass on it – including HBO.
Yes, that’s right. New Line initially approached HBO to produce the series but they weren’t interested. While the massive costs no doubt had something to do with it, the network actually cites two other reasons. One is that they’re already too busy with Game of Thrones and perhaps more importantly, they’d rather own their IP 100%, with “the ability to work with a product that is inextricably linked to their brand.”
This is interesting for a few reasons, chief amongst them being that Thrones is coming to an end soon, so you’d think that HBO would be looking for another big fantasy series to replace it. I guess that’s what those spinoffs are for, though? There’s also the fact that HBO is owned by Time Warner, who also own Warner Bros., which would have made this whole thing easier since it would have all been in the same family. But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Of course, The Lord of the Rings isn’t the only big-name Hollywood blockbuster bound for television right now; just a few weeks back, we caught wind that Disney had drawn up plans for a live-action Star Wars TV series for 2019. But after three unforgettable fantasy flicks, coupled with Peter Jackson’s bloated Hobbit trilogy, is there still an appetite for Middle-earth? As always, you can chime in with your own thoughts, comments and predictions via the usual place.