Amazon's big-budget Lord of the Rings TV series has just taken a major step forward. J.A. Bayona, director of movies such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and A Monster Calls, has been tapped by the studio to helm the first two episodes of the upcoming small screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved works. The show has been in the works for some time, but this is a major step toward finally making it a reality.
According to a new report, J.A. Bayona has signed on to not only direct the first two episodes, but executive produce the show as well, alongside his producing partner Belen Atienza. They join a creative team that already includes writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who head up the writer's room and previously penned Star Trek 4 for Paramount. Bayona had this to say in a statement.
"J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team. I can't wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story."
It was first announced by Amazon in November 2017 that they had cut a deal with the Tolkien estate for this new series, which will follow in the footsteps of director Peter Jackson's acclaimed, blockbuster Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. While exact plot details haven't been officially revealed, this won't be a re-adaptation of the main books. Though, it's said that this will take place prior to the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, had this to say in a statement.
"The scope and breadth of J.A.'s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings. He's a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multi-talented producing partner, Belén. We are all excited for them to join our writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay, and we can't think of a better way to begin this journey to Middle-earth."
Aside from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which failed to win over critics but managed to gross $1.3 billion at the box office, J.A. Bayona has directed acclaimed movies such as his debut feature The Orphanage, and the real-life drama The Impossible. As far as TV goes, he previously helmed the first two episodes of Penny Dreadful.
There is still no word on when production on the series will actually begin. What we do know is the show will be one of the most expensive ever produced, with estimates stating it could cost Amazon $1 billion when all is said and done. The company signed a multi-season commitment, which also includes a deal for a possible spin-off series. This news was previously reported by Deadline.