As difficult as this is to believe, we’re going on nearly 20 years since The Lord of the Rings — often called a completely unfilmable novel — made the jump to the big screen in live action form. (We don’t talk much around here about that animated atrocity.)
According to Variety, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been looking for something to compete with HBO’s Game of Thrones, and while there are competitors lined up to win the rights for a Lord of the Rings TV series via Warner Bros., Amazon appears to be the current frontrunner.
If they’re looking to compete on that level, it’s a foregone conclusion they’ll put in enough money that they could conceivably put forth as big an effort as Peter Jackson did in the early ’00s. The trick, of course, is that they’ll be working under the same constraints. Tolkien sold the film rights to The Hobbit and LOTR back in 1969, being the only published works he had at the time (and up to the time of his death). The Silmarillion and his other posthumous works are still owned by the estate, and Christopher Tolkien has made it abundantly clear these rights will not be sold or even licensed out on his watch.
As always, if they stand faithful to the source material, I’m on board. I don’t know how they’ll ever surpass Ian McKellan as Gandalf. I’ll be curious to see how the casting unfolds when the time comes.