Amazon to Adapt “Lord of the Rings” as a TV Series

Amazon to Adapt "Lord of the Rings" as a TV Series Amazon

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.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Mackay Bell13 November, 2017

    The bigger question to me is how they make it different than the films, which were excellent. Seems like the bigger danger is for the series to come across just as a low budget, longer rehash of the films.

    I would humbly suggest they spend a more time on the villains, and really filling out their stories. Like the Witch King and the other Ring Wraths and even some Orcs. Villains are what makes GOT.

    1. Steve H.13 November, 2017

      I have to agree…They better start off with a bang or Amazon will hemorrhage viewers before they know it…think about a Star Wars tv show…

      1. Nate Hoffelder14 November, 2017

        Disney is doing the Star Wars show.

        Rogue One has convinced me that Disney might actually make a good show.

  2. Angela Korra'ti13 November, 2017

    Important note: news I’m seeing on this today is indicating that Amazon is not, repeat, NOT actually adapting the series proper, but will instead be doing stuff set prior to Fellowship of the Ring.

    Source for this:

    1. Nate Hoffelder13 November, 2017

      yes, the title of the PR was contradicted by one sentence near the end.

    2. lemondrop14 November, 2017

      That could be good then. There’s 3000 years or so of stories prior to LOTR. Hope it’s better than Amazon’s man in the high castle adaption.

      1. poiboy14 November, 2017

        yes that was a poorly done adaptation 🙁

  3. Kate13 November, 2017

    In my experience, people have only one of two reactions to the book – it’s either the best book they ever read, or it bores them to tears.

    I see you fall in the latter category, but it would behoove you to remember those of us who fall into the first, and do not consider the book boring at all, but deep and rich, full of detail, humor, loyalty and meaning.

    Not that I’m looking forward to this series. It sounds terrible.

    1. R. Scot Johns14 November, 2017

      I agree with Kate. Putting down a book – particularly one so widely beloved and critically acclaimed – in a news article catering to fans of that very book is sure to draw some ire. And this from the guy who thinks the 6th grade reading level of Harry Potter is the height of epic fantasy. Unsubscibed.

      1. Nate Hoffelder15 November, 2017

        I hope you realize that flouncing out like this makes you look like one of those people who “canceled” ESPN or smashed their Keurig.

  4. tired14 November, 2017

    You were probably too young when you read it. It is worth a fresh look now that you’re older. There is depth to Tolkien that has not been fully revealed in the movies. If the tv show folds in the Silmarillion and takes the time to flesh out the entire trilogy, it should be rewarding to both fans and newcomers alike.

  5. Frank14 November, 2017

    I am glad companies are spending millions on making original content, even if it turns out bad. More choices are always good for a consumer.

    1. tired15 November, 2017

      “original content” lol

      I disagree, I don’t think that more choices are always good. There reaches a saturation point where each individual tv show struggles to reach an audience. And then good shows end up being cancelled. When there were fewer shows, networks invested more in each one. They gave the shows a chance to grow and find their audience. For example, Star Trek TNG would not have survived today with its appallingly poor beginning.

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