Middle-earth fans are waiting with extreme anticipation for the premiere of an ambitious new project based on the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien. The forthcoming Lord of the Rings TV series is expected to rival Game of Thrones, and while there's no premiere date announced just yet, here's what we already know about the project...
It will air exclusively on Amazon Prime
It was quite the bidding war between Netflix and Amazon, with the latter eventually landing the rights for the rights at the princely cost of $250 million. It is rumoured to run for at least five seasons, and we're sure that this series will significantly increase Prime membership.
It will be written by JD Payne and Patrick McKay
This writing team have been working together for around 20 years, though their IMDb page doesn't show it. They were uncredited writers on 2016's Star Trek Beyond and have also been announced to write the next Star Trek sequel. The pair of them also worked on an early screenplay for the long-anticipated reboot of Flash Gordon. That's pretty much all we know about these guys, but they did beat strong competition when Amazon were interviewing creators.
It will be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth
The series is expected to be set solely within the 3,441-year period of the Second Age, or the Age of Númenor, which for context ended with Isildur slaying Sauron. That makes it very possible that we'll meet those characters, as well as the great Elves Elrond and Galadriel.
Thus, the series won't adapt any of the stories from the original book trilogy, but will introduce some new stories set before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. This means it's very likely material from Tolkien's companion works such as The Children of Húrin, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth may be included.
It's set in New Zealand
The series will likely feel very familiar to The Lord of the Rings fans as, like the movies, the show will be set against the stunning backdrop of New Zealand.
"As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, 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", Payne and McKay told The Hollywood Reporter. "And we're happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings."
Will Poulter has been cast in a lead role
While we don't yet know which character he will be playing, we are pleased to see this young star take the reins. He's been incredible in the varied roles of his career; namely in The Maze Runner, The Revenant, War Machine and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch; so we've no doubt he'll do us proud again in The Lord of the Rings.
Meanwhile, Australian actress Markella Kavenagh is also on board as a character named Tyra - a character that doesn't appear in The Lord of the Rings canon, so it could either be a new one or a code name. You may recognise her as Cindi in Romper Stomper, Myrtle in Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Jane Cotter in Justin Kurzel's True History of the Kelly Gang.
Peter Jackson will not be involved
We're sad to hear that the director of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies will not be on board for this new project. The thrice Oscar-winning filmmaker managed to pull together one of the most ambitious film projects of all time, taking a budget of $281 million and turning it into $2.919 billion. But, alas, he deserves to be released from the pressures of this franchise, having already done the whole thing again for The Hobbit trilogy. We'd love to see him in a cameo though.