After bringing together the big screen’s most popular superheroes for “Avengers: Infinity War,” directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been hired to create the next “Game of Thrones” for Amazon.
Of course, that’s not exactly how Amazon phrased it when Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke made the announcement Saturday afternoon at the Television Critics Association press tour. To close out the Amazon executive panel, Salke unveiled vague but ambitious plans for a new tentpole franchise from the Russo Brothers.
Amazon has partnered with the Russo Brothers’ AGBO Studios to create what they’re calling “a groundbreaking global event franchise.” The press release accompanying Salke’s announcement also described the series as a “radical global storytelling disruption” and called it a “large-scope, multi-layered international event series.”
But that’s as detailed as they get in terms of what the series is about. The press release states the new series is meant to be a “mothership” for a slew of additional programs. These shows will include “multiple original local language and local production series.”
“The Russo Brothers have impacted the pop culture barometer of creative excellence with their vision for both ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War,'” Salke said in the statement. “They brought a level of scale and execution to those films that has raised the bar for audiences everywhere and we can’t wait for them to do the same for us on this project for our Amazon Prime Customer. We are thrilled to be working with Joe and Anthony Russo and their AGBO Studios as they build this incredible, multifaceted, international franchise.”
This kind of project is in line with Jeff Bezos’ late 2017 mandate to create big, broad series with global appeal. At the time, it was reported then-chief Roy Price was in charge of producing more high-end drama series, but he has since left Amazon after facing sexual harassment claims shortly after the shift in programming strategy was announced.
Now, it’s Salke’s job, and the former NBC Entertainment president is cranking out a slew of projects that fit the bill. From inherited series like “Jack Ryan” and “Homecoming,” more series like “Lord of the Rings” — which was assigned head developers during the same Saturday afternoon panel — Nicole Kidman’s “The Expatriates,” and Greg Daniels’ “Upload.” Many thought Amazon’s massive deal acquiring rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien novels meant it would be the infamous “next ‘Game of Thrones,'” but the verbiage used to describe the Russo Brothers’ new project indicates Amazon isn’t putting all its money in the hobbits’ hands.
The deal gives the Russo Brothers the “creative freedom” to pursue whatever narrative they have in mind, so expect more information on the big-ticket series once their “Avengers” follow-up is complete.