Amazon has inked a deal to adapt the Ulysses of fantasy series as a serial video production (aka TV series, only without the TV).
Amazon today announced it has acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment. The upcoming Amazon Prime Original 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.
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”
When I first heard the rumors about this deal I wondered just how much porn Amazon would have to add to get people to watch. That series is a tedious and difficult read, even more so than A Song of Fire and Ice.
But it's worth remembering that an adaptation might end up with little or no connection to the original. The movie The Last Mimsy, for example, had only the most vague similarities with the story Mimsy were the Borogroves. And the book and TV series The Magicians share only only the most basic details.
So it is entirely possible that Amazon could cut the many boring parts of LoTR and give us a watchable show.
Edit: And that probability increased significantly given that Amazon is producing a prequel:
Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new story lines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.
There's no word yet on release date, but production hasn't started yet so the series might not be released for another 18 months to two years.