The legend is coming to an end on HBO, as the cable network makes ready to produce the final season of its mature fantasy TV series “Game of Thrones” which may not premiere until late next year or early 2019. While they’re trying to keep viewers invested on the greater franchise, based on the books by George R.R. Martin, by trying to develop spinoffs set in the show’s universe, other media providers are looking to launch their own fantasy shows to take the place of “Thrones”, among them being Amazon, which is planning to develop a streaming series based on JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”.
CNBC reports that Amazon Studios, which produces original programming for its on-demand Amazon Video service, has inked a deal with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, as well as HarperCollins and New Line Cinema (which produced the 2001-03 film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson) to develop a streaming TV series based on “The Lord of the Rings” featuring new storylines. The announcement was made on Monday, November 13. With this, Amazon was given global TV rights for such a project, which is expected to run for several seasons. The resulting show on Amazon Video will be accessible only to Prime subscribers.
While not confirmed by Amazon, a report on Deadline intimates that the global retail and multimedia platform may have paid around $250 million to acquire the rights to a “Lord of the Rings” TV series. The sum does not include potential production costs, and no financial terms and tentative release schedules were disclosed either. Amazon does elaborate that the planned show shall explore story events in the spirit of the works of JRR Tolkien, taking place before the start of the first book and film, “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Whether said show might try to take a page from the mature content depicted in “Game of Thrones” is uncertain, though the production approach leaves that option open.
There’re also the potential possibilities being offered by Amazon including New Line Cinema in the collaborative effort, in that they might be able to connect certain elements and plots in the show to the original film trilogy and perhaps even the “Hobbit” trilogy of 2012-14. This ties into other initiatives being undertaken by Amazon that include the development of a free version of Amazon Video (Amazon Prime Video overseas) that would have its media content supported by ad revenues.
Amazon seems dead set into expanding its footprint with regards to original streaming media content. It’s going to take a concerted effort to put it in parity with similar plans by Netflix and Disney, among numerous other companies.
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