Amazon confirmed more details about the studio’s upcoming series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels “The Lord of the Rings.” Just like the popular films before it, the new series is indeed shooting in New Zealand, and the studio confirmed that pre-production has already started. According to the studio, production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months.

“As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff. And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. “We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

The new show will still take place in Middle-earth, but the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The map that Amazon released to tease the show featured the island of Númenor, which would place the story in the Second Age. That’s after the fall of Morgoth in The Silmarillion, and during the creation of the Rings of Power, and the rise of Sauron.

If you never read Tolkien’s earlier works, you can check my The Silmarillion Reading Guide to catch up before the new show airs. The books are wonderful, and the extended stories put together by Christopher Tolkien really fill in a lot of the details predating Middle Earth as we know it in ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ The Lord of the Rings novels were named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003.

Directed by Peter Jackson, the theatrical adaptations made over $6N combined, and earned 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The executive producers and showrunners for the series are J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom) will direct the first two episodes and also serve as executive producer, alongside his partner Belén Atienza. Executive Producers are Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), and Justin Doble (Stranger Things).

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