With the end of that other dragon show on HBO, the TV world has been waiting for details on Amazon Prime Video’s forthcoming “Lord of the Rings” series. While the actual content of the series is still a closely-guarded secret, we now have a slightly better idea of who’ll be helping to run this new ship.
“The Orphanage” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” director J.A. Bayona is the streaming service’s choice to direct the first two episodes of its massive new Middle Earth series.
“Fallen Kingdom” is the filmmaker’s most recent effort, following 2016 film “A Monster Calls.” “The Orphanage,” Bayona’s debut, launched his career, eventually leading to the 2012 disaster survival movie “The Impossible,” starring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and a pre-“Spider-Man” Tom Holland. This won’t be the first time that Bayona helps get a series off the ground, having previously done the same for the first two episodes of the Showtime drama “Penny Dreadful.”
Aside from a trickle of speculation from various individuals involved in the previous two film J.R.R. Tolkien-based trilogies, the main confirmed detail about the Amazon series is that it will take place before the events of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” movies.
Last summer, Amazon tapped writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay to shepherd this new adaptation. Payne and McKay are also the credited writers on the upcoming installment in the “Star Trek” franchise, set to be directed by S.J. Clarkson. The pair are showrunning this “Lord of the Rings” series, with reported writers room assistance from “Game of Thrones” vet Bryan Cogman and “Better Call Saul” writer Gennifer Hutchison.
Bayona will have a tall task with this new series. Aside from the pressure of being Amazon’s attempt to create the next industry-beating spectacle, there’s a reported significant financial investment in the series as well. In addition to the mammoth price tag for the rights to “Lord of the Rings” property in the first place, a report from last year estimated that the eventual budget for this series could grow to twice what Jackson’s trilogy cost when it went into production twenty years ago.