It's been a little more than a month since New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment announced that Amazon Prime's "The Lord of the Rings" series (as well as Netflix's live-action adaptations of anime Cowboy Bebop and Jeff Lemire's comic book Sweet Tooth, among others) had received border exemptions to resume production. Prior to the pandemic shutdown, the high-profile project had nearly completed work on the first two episodes and it was reported that the series is looking to resume filming in September (in accordance with established COVID-19 quarantining regulations), with some preliminary work underway.
So with that in mind, series writer Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) needs to make something clear (as you'll see in the following tweets): there's not going to be a lot of talk about the Lord of the Rings series so you can stop asking. To be clear, it's not that Hutchison wouldn't want to. In the tweets below, we learn that the only news that's going to be coming out any time soon will be official press announcements from the streaming service. Hutchison also can't answer questions about the series but appreciates the fans understanding.
Writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay are developing the series and serving as showrunner, with Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) serving as a consultant. Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is set to direct the first two episodes. Amazon Studios produces, in conjunction with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema. The prequel series stars Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman, and Maxim Baldry.
While specific details on the Lord of the Rings series are scarce, we know that the new stories will take place prior to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring" and look to focus on the "Second Age" – a time when the Rings of Power were first revealed. "J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team. I can't wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story," explained Bayona at the time the news was announced.
In the video below, LotR fans learned the creative team's killer line-up of talent – including Amazon's ex-genre head Sharon Tal Yguado as well as Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Tal Yguado, writer/executive producer Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad); writer/executive producer Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), writer/executive producer Justin Doble (Stranger Things), consulting producer Stephany Folsom, producer Ron Ames, writer and co-producer Helen Shang, and writing consultant Glenise Mullins. Bayona will executive produce alongside partner Belén Atienza.
"We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belén joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series. We have been great admirers of J.A.'s work for years, and know that his epic, cinematic and deeply heartfelt aesthetic is the perfect sensibility to bring Middle-earth to life anew," said Payne & McKay when the hirings were officially announced.