Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series is moving production from New Zealand to the U.K for Season 2.
The untitled series was picked up for multiple seasons at the streamer when it was first ordered back in 2017. Filming was completed on the first season of the show on Aug. 2. Season 1 post-production will continue in New Zealand through June 2022, while pre-production on Season 2 will begin concurrently in the U.K. after the first of the year.
“As we look to relocate the production to the U.K., we do not intend to actively pursue the Season One MoU five percent financial uplift with the New Zealand government or preserve the terms around that agreement, however we respectfully defer to our partners and will remain in close consultation with them around next steps,” said Albert Cheng, COO and co-head of TV for Amazon Studios.
This will mark the first time any of the modern “Lord of the Rings” live-action onscreen projects have been produced outside of New Zealand, including “The Hobbit” trilogy. The move to the U.K. is not altogether unexpected, given that Amazon has a number of other big budget productions in the works across the pond. Both the Neil Gaiman shows “Anansi Boys” and Season 2 of “Good Omens” are both being shot in the U.K., while the streamer also recently shot the series adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel “The Power” there as well. Amazon will still receive a 20% tax credit for the first season of the show from New Zealand.
“We want to thank the people and the government of New Zealand for their hospitality and dedication and for providing ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series with an incredible place to begin this epic journey,” said Vernon Sanders, vice president and co-head of TV for Amazon Studios. “We are grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited, and others for their tremendous collaboration that supported the New Zealand film sector and the local economy during the production of Season One.”
Amazon recently announced that Season 1 of the “Lord of the Rings” series will debut on Sept. 2, 2022. Little is known about the plot of the series to date, including its official title, but it is known that it will take place during the so-called Second Age, thousands of years prior to the events of both “The Lord of the Rings” books and “The Hobbit.” The series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.
The series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay. They are joined by executive producers Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J.A. Bayona (who is also a director on the series), Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond, and Sharon Tal Yguado, co-executive producer and director Wayne Che Yip, director Charlotte Brändström, and producer Christopher Newman. Ron Ames is co-producer.
Variety exclusively reported in November 2017 that a “Lord of the Rings” series was in the works at Amazon, with the streamer announcing a multi-season production commitment shortly thereafter. The series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.