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Tolkien Estate Said No Peter Jackson for ‘Lord of the Rings’ Amazon Series

He SHALL not pass.

Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings BTS

For many fans, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien have become synonymous with the name Peter Jackson. After all, Jackson received global acclaim for his massively successful The Lord of the Rings trilogy, followed by The Hobbit trilogy. So when Amazon Studios announced a big budget television series based in the world of Lord of the Rings, Jackson’s name naturally came up.

 In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’Awards Chatter podcast, Jackson said he was initially approached by Amazon for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. “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 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.”

So why did Amazon ghost Peter Jackson? The reasons are likely two-fold. One, they probably want to keep the films (owned by Warner Bros.) and the series separate for legal reasons. But the more likely reason due to the Tolkien estate, which didn’t want Jackson involved with the project. Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son and literary executor of the estate, sued New Line Cinema in 2008 over unpaid royalties. He has also slammed Jackson repeatedly in the media, saying that the films “eviscerated the book”. And considering that Amazon paid Tolkien a staggering $250 million for the rights (and is shelling out hundreds of millions on the series), they likely want to keep him happy.

But Jackson bears no ill will towards Amazon or the Tolkien estate, saying “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. The one thing I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer.”

An Amazon spokesperson said, “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 that he is looking forward to watching The Rings of Power.”

Few book to film adaptations have been as critically and commercially successful as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing film franchises of all time. The series won a total of 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Pest Director for The Return of the King. The LOTR trilogy had a massive impact on pop culture, revitalizing the fantasy genre and paving the way for series like Game of Thrones. Jackson went on to make The Hobbit trilogy, which didn’t reach the critical acclaim of LOTR but raked in an impressive $2.9 billion at the box office.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon prime on September 2, 2022.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, featured image: Warner Bros./New Line Cinema)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.