Amazon Studios announced they’ve found the team to guide The Lord of the Rings series. JD Payne and Patrick McKay are now on board to develop the series based on the bestselling fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In making the announcement of Payne and McKay’s involvement, Amazon said they’d gone to Middle Earth and back to find the right people to handle transitioning Tolkien’s work into a television series. The duo have been collaborating for more than 20 years after meeting on their high school debate team. Their previous projects include writing Star Trek 4 and handling the screenplay of Disney’s Jungle Cruise starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson.
“The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity,” stated Payne and McKay. “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”
The series already has a multiple season commitment and 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.
Back when the series was announced in November 2017, Amazon Studios’ Head of Scripted Series Sharon Tal Yguado said, “The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. 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.”
Not much is known about the series other than it will “explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.”
Tolkien’s novels were previously adapted into feature films that grossed more than $6 billion over their theatrical runs. The films were directed by Peter Jackson and starred Elijah Wood as Frodo, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Liv Tyler as Arwen, Sean Astin as Sam, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Billy Boyd as Pippin, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Hugo Weaving as Elrond.