Amazon Studios has tapped Star Trek 4 writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay to write their upcoming Lord of the Rings series. The story will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring and it will be a very ambitious project to take on. Amazon, Netflix, and HBO were all trying to get their hands on the rights to make the Lord of the Rings series for the small screen, but Amazon won out in the end with a $250 million rights contract.
JD Payne and Patrick McKaye were reportedly on a shortlist that Amazon Studios had for writers to take on the Lord of the Rings TV series. The duo previously worked with J.J. Abrams on Star Trek 4, and it's believed that Abrams might've thrown in some good words for the writers. This is exciting news for fans who have been anxiously awaiting any news about the development of the show. Payne and McKaye had this to say about jumping on board the massive project.
"The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care - it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime."
The Lord of the Rings Amazon series is set in Middle Earth and will, as previously mentioned, explore new storylines before J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. Peter Jackson has stated that he will not be involved in the series, but that goes against his own words and those of Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke. Jackson has admitted to having indirect help in securing the creative team behind the show and Salke has stated that they have had "amicable" conversations about the series.
Regardless of Peter Jackson's help on the Lord of the Rings series for Amazon, there could be the return of some of the original cast. Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the original trilogy, has expressed interest in reprising his role. He has admitted that he has not been asked, but he says that he would do it. Jennifer Salke has not ruled out the return of other characters either, though Andy Serkis, who played Gollum, has admitted that he can't see himself joining the series.
JD Payne and Patrick McKay have been working together for over 20 years, having met in high school on the debate team. In addition to working with J.J. Abrams on Star Trek 4, the duo also had a hand in developing Disney's Jungle Cruise movie, which stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. But, it looks like Payne and McKay are about to have their hands full for quite a while with Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings series. More news is expected to drop soon about the show, but until then, you can read about Payne and McKay signing on to the Lord of the Rings series at Deadline.