Amazon announced on Monday that it has retained the rights to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings for television for its Prime streaming service. The original trilogy starred Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom-no word yet if any of the original cast will be asked to be in the Amazon series.
Amazon's announcement comes two months after CEO Jeff Bezos issued a new programming mandate in a bid to launch a hit fantasy series to rival HBO's Game of Thrones. Production will be handled by Amazon Studios, in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins - the publisher of the book - and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. that worked on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
"The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen", Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon Studios new head said in a statement.
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Set in Middle Earth, this TV series will explore new story lines preceding Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.
Hollywood entertainment website Deadline reported the deal came with an eye-watering upfront rights payment of around US$200 million (S$272.5 million).
Whether or not the new multi-season series will live up to the benchmark that Jackson left for the saga that shook up Middle-Earth remains to be seen.