Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Series Ignored Peter Jackson

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By Dan Lawrence
| Published

The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, makes its debut on Amazon Prime on September 2nd and is burdened with high expectations given its alleged huge budget and the massive popularity of director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Given the massive impact that Peter Jackson has had on Lord of the Rings, you would be forgiven for thinking he had a part to play in the new Amazon series. However, The Hollywood Reporter writes that is not the case and Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings series ignored Peter Jackson.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg on The Hollywood Reporter’Awards Chatter podcast, Jackson recalled the events that led to Amazon ‘snubbing’ him; “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.’ So, they said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple of 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 man who brought The Lord of the Rings to the big screen with an Oscar Winning trilogy of films harbors no hard feelings for the team behind the new Amazon series, however, saying; “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.”

There are several reasons why Amazon winded up not touching base with Peter Jackson when crafting their new Lord of the Rings series. One of them is the relationship or lack thereof between Jackson and the Tolkien estate. Despite Jackson’s two trilogies of films being box-office hits, Oscar winners, and trendsetters in the use of visual effects, the Tolkien estate is not fond of the director’s work. Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien – author of The Lord of the Rings Novels – “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher Tolkein back in 2013. Amazon paid $250 million to the Tolkien estate to acquire the rights in order to make The Rings of Power and according to The Guardian, Amazon was barred from including any details from The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books. 

Instead, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power must focus on the Second Age of Middle Earth, over a thousand years prior to the events depicted in Peter Jackson’s films. The series will chart the forging of The Rings of Power and the rise of Sauron’s evil. It is also worth noting that Warner Bros was behind Peter Jackon’s Lord of the Rings efforts, so Amazon has opted to tread carefully rather than bringing Jackson into the fold of their creative process. So given both this reasoning and the Tolkien estate’s apparent disdain for Jackson, it is clear why Amazon stayed clear with making their show. Before the Jackson/Amazon Lord of the Rings drama, there were also reports that the movie rights for the entire Lord of the Rings property were up for sale and could fetch billions to the right buyer. Warner Bros later rebuffed these claims. 

The focus for fans of The Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth is likely unbothered by the ‘snubbing’ and rights squabbling going on in the background. Instead, the fan’s focus will be on September 2nd when The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be first available on Amazon Prime.