Lord of the Rings, The: The Rings of Power–Amazon Series and Peter Jackson

Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series and Peter Jackson

The Oscar-winning director says Amazon asked him to be involved with its LOTR series — and then cut off contact.

 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power follows the forging of the original Rings of Power during the Second Age that allowed the Dark Lord Sauron to spread evil across Middle-earth.

It’s set thousands of years before the events in Jackson’s trilogy. The show premieres on Prime Video on September 2.

Peter Jackson is weighing in on Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series.

The Oscar-winning director of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies reveals the studio asked him to be involved with its upcoming epic series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and promised to send scripts–then never contacted him again.

“They asked me if I wanted to be involved — [writer-producer Fran Walsh] and I — and I said, ‘That’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script,’” Jackson recalls. “They said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we’ll send them to you.’ And the scripts never showed up. That’s the last thing I heard, which is fine. No complaints at all.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

In The Business podcast talking to Kim Masters, the filmmaker echoes the anecdote: “About four, five years ago they asked if I would be interested in it,” he says. “So I said, ‘Have you got the scripts yet?’ Because I know how hard the scripts were to write for the films and I didn’t know the people writing their scripts. They said, ‘Oh no, we haven’t got the scripts yet, but as soon as we do, we’ll send you the scripts.’ I was waiting for the scripts to arrive and they never did.”

Back in 2018, Jackson told the U.K.’s Metro, “I think they’re going to send us some scripts to see if we can help them along.”

Jackson emphasized that he harbors no hard feelings toward Amazon’s series and is eager to watch it as fan of the franchise.

“I’ll be watching it, I’m not the sort of guy who wishes ill will. Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it’s something to celebrate. I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer.” Jackson adds that Amazon is “betting the farm on Tolkien,” given its massive half-billion-dollar budget for the show’s debut season.

Amazon Studios responded to Jackson’s comments: “In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings films and are thrilled he is looking forward to watching The Rings of Power.”

The studio has high regard for Jackson and Rings of Power showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have tried to approach the filmmaker. But there were also legal concerns about keeping the films (owned by Warner) and TV show separate.

There were also executive changes during that time. Former head of genre programming Sharon Tal Yguado, an advocate of luring Jackson to the project, departed the company in 2019.

Author J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate was against having Jackson on board. The estate had no involvement with his films and Christopher Tolkien has slammed the trilogy in as “eviscerating” his father’s books, claiming they turned his novels into action movies for young people that lack “beauty and seriousness.”

But the estate is involved with the new series: Amazon paid the estate $250 million for the rights to make the show.

Would a studio greenlight his trilogy today?

The director says “probably not. … Not with a director like me and a studio that would put its money on the line for three movies.”

Jackson says, “If there was anything we gave to the ongoing community of filmmaking, we opened up the CGI bag of tricks to have huge battle scenes.”  Epic fantasy shows such as HBO’s Game of Thrones would have never been greenlit if not for the massive box office and awards success of his trilogy, 2001-2003.

Jackson is an awards contender this season for his Beatles documentary Get Back, which was nominated for five Emmys.