×

Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series to Shoot in New Zealand

Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of “The Lord of the Rings,” following in the footsteps of the movies made by Peter Jackson. Pre-production on the series has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months.

“We knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

The three hit “Lord of the Rings” films helmed by Jackson, himself a Kiwi, were largely shot in New Zealand, and some of the locations have since become tourist attractions. Produced by New Line Cinema, the movie trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy cycle earned nearly $6 billion worldwide and garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards.

The new TV series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

“The scale of Amazon Studios’ series, based on ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ will create significant economic benefits and employment opportunities,” said Kerry Prendergast, chair of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC). “The New Zealand Film Commission, along with the broader industry and New Zealand partners, welcome the opportunities Amazon Studios will bring.”

NZFC chief executive Annabelle Sheehan said that the series will employ vendors from across New Zealand, and include location shooting in several regions. The main production base will be in Auckland, on the North Island.

Little is known about the plot of the “Lord of the Rings” series beyond the fact that it will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The show’s official Twitter account sent out an image of a map, along with the two messages: “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,” as well as “Welcome to the Second Age.” In Tolkien’s mythology, the Second Age was the time during which the Rings of Power, including Sauron’s One Ring, came into existence.

J.A. Bayona (“The Orphanage,” “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom”) will direct the first two episodes and serve as executive producer, alongside his partner Belen Atienza. Executive producers are Lindsey Weber ( “10 Cloverfield Lane”), Bruce Richmond (“Game of Thrones”), Gene Kelly (“Boardwalk Empire”), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (“Breaking Bad”), Jason Cahill (“The Sopranos”), and Justin Doble (“Stranger Things”).

To date, Variety has revealed that the cast includes Australian actress Markella Kavenagh and British actor Will Poulter (“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” “The Maze Runner”).

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • The Outpost -- "One is the

    Electric Entertainment Launching OTT Channel Electric Now (EXCLUSIVE)

    U.S.-based producer and distributor Electric Entertainment is launching Electric Now, a linear OTT channel that will feature its top series and library content. The channel will have episodes of “The Outpost,” the fantasy-adventure series that has just had its third season greenlit by U.S. network The CW. The new season will head into production in [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Watch Signs Content Pact With France's M6, Unveils European Short-Form Slate

    Facebook Watch has inked a content pact with French channel M6 and unveiled a slate of short-form content from European digital publishers for the platform. The deal with M6 will see the French broadcaster place spinoff programming from some of its hit shows on Facebook Watch. M6 will run pre- and after-show clips, interviews, and [...]

  • Snow White

    What's Coming to Disney Plus Starting in November

    Disney unveiled the complete list of films to premiere on its streaming service Disney Plus via a lengthy Twitter thread Monday. With its powerhouse catalog including Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic properties, the full magnitude of the Disney empire will be seen once the streaming service launches. Along with Disney originals previously announced [...]

  • Stock market

    Trading In Music's Futures: How to Cash In on the Industry's Gold Rush (Guest Column)

    The music industry is entering a time of financial prosperity thanks to the widespread use of streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. According to a recent report by Musicwatch, 77% of all internet users in the U.S. stream music, while Goldman Sachs projects a revenue pot of $34 billion by 2030. Finally, the [...]

  • Grace Helbig

    Grace Helbig Hosting Facebook Watch Show 'Ladies First' About Empowered Women

    Longtime YouTube creator Grace Helbig has a new series — coming to Facebook Watch. In the unscripted eight-episode show “Ladies First with Grace Helbig,” set to premiere Tuesday, Oct. 22, the digital star sits down with a series of “empowered women” to learn about how they’re making a positive impact. Guests include actress-comedian Margaret Cho, [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content