Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is already the most expensive project in the history of television after the streaming service committed to shelling out a billion dollars on five seasons of content, never mind the initial $250 million it cost them to secure the worldwide TV rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s expanded mythology.
Shooting is currently underway and has been for close to a year now, with production spending months on hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic, only to add a further 20 cast members when cameras started rolling again to signal that the small screen Lord of the Rings is still very much an ensemble piece in the vein of the feature films.
There’s no word yet on when we can expect the show to premiere, but insider Daniel Richtman is claiming that multiple spinoffs are already in the works. None of the characters have even been officially named yet, and the synopsis was only revealed a few days ago, so the idea of more adventures being on the table at this point seems like Amazon’s reach far exceeding their grasp, and unfortunately, the tipster offers little in the way of further information.
That’s without even mentioning the minefield of trying to secure the rights to any additional properties, considering it took ten figures and a lot of negotiation for Amazon to get the green light for just one Lord of the Rings show. As we know, J.R.R. Tolkien’s intellectual property is divided across the Tolkien Estate, run by the author’s family who control the majority of his copyrights, and Middle-earth Enterprises.
The latter hold exclusive rights to certain elements of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, including the names of several characters, locations, mystical objects and even some phrases of dialogue. Diving even deeper into the back catalogue would likely require deals being struck with both parties, then, which sounds like a legal, financial and logistical nightmare. Still, Richtman’s intel is usually pretty reliable and for now, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of this.