How to demonstrate you don’t understand the work of JRR Tolkien in three words or less:
Season 1 has a $465 million budget. Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke stated in May 2021 that she was “pretty confident” that the show will draw the required viewership to make the money worth spent.
Back in 2017, when it was reported that Amazon had bought the rights to “The Lord of the Rings” — winning a bidding war against Netflix — the number reported with that sale was $250 million. That number alone made it the most expensive television series ever, but later, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the whole series would end up costing more than $1 billion, due to production expenses (casting, producers, visual effects, etc.). “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy’s own Elijah Wood reacted to that particular figure during an interview, saying, “That’s crazy to me.” For context, the Peter Jackson trilogy grossed $2.92 billion worldwide. The combined budget for all three films was $281 million.
That $250 million rights deal for “The Lord of the Rings” also came with a five-season commitment for the series. A guaranteed five seasons should also guarantee at least one full story told from beginning to end, even though there’s always the possibility of more, depending on the series’ success. The deal also allowed for the potential of spin-off series, which could mean the potential for even more of Middle-earth outside just this adaptation. In November 2019, Deadline confirmed that Amazon had officially ordered a second season of the series and that it was already in the works. According to the report, the official early renewal means that there will be a shorter wait time between the first two seasons come release.
However, the series may not ever get out of the Second Age — which is, again, 3,441 years long, so it’s got a lot to work with — as, according to Tolkien scholar and “The Lord of the Rings” consultant Tom Shippey, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien has refused to grant Amazon permission to film anything other than the Second Age, as to not alter the history of the more fleshed out Third Age. “But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions…”
The tagline of the newly-released trailer? “Nothing is evil…in the beginning.”
When you already suspect – no, when you already KNOW – that the series is going to be a converged abomination wearing the title of the books as a skinsuit, you shouldn’t be surprised by anything the Hellmouth producers come up with.
And yet, to begin with a marketing tagline of “Nothing is evil…” is really going a bit far even for a collection of inverted anticreatives. No matter how it is subsequently modified after the ellipsis.
It’s going to be bad. It’s going to be so bad, it’s going to make THE WHEEL OF TIME and the last season of A GAME OF THRONES look good by comparision.