Two major fantasy shows have been forced to halt production for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. Netflix's The Witcher season 2 and Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV series have both shut down filming temporarily, exercising caution to keep the cast and crews safe. This comes after many high-profile movie and TV productions have been forced to hit the pause button.
Starting with The Witcher season 2, the production had been set up in the U.K., making it the first production based in the country to be affected by the coronavirus situation. The cast and crew will continue to be paid during the break. It comes just after Netflix decided to halt all productions in the U.S. and Canda as well, including Stranger Things season 4. A source involved in the production had this to say in a statement.
We have made the decision, effective immediately, to pause production for two weeks during this difficult time... this will allow everyone the time to make informed decisions about how to move forward. The coronavirus has raised challenging issues for everyone working on set on productions for Netflix. We are very grateful for all the work everyone has done to keep cast and crew safe during this pandemic."
The Witcher, which stars Henry Cavill, became a massive hit for Netflix following its debut in December. The streaming service wasted no time in getting season 2 going. The show is based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. No release date for the sophomore season had been set, but it was expected to debut in late 2020 or early 2021.
Elsewhere, the highly-anticipated, untitled Lord of the Rings series has also been halted in New Zealand. The country has instituted strict containment measures, with anyone coming across the border having to isolate themselves for two weeks. A memo from GSR Productions, which is behind the show, sent out a memo to the crew alerting them to the shutdown. The memo reads as follows.
"In an abundance of caution, UAP [Untitled Amazon Project] has suspended production for the next two (2) weeks commencing Monday, March 16. This is done in an environment where travel restrictions directed at the control of Covid-19 are issued daily by New Zealand and most other countries. We are doing this to minimize stress on the resources and infrastructures around us by doing our part to reduce population density in our communities and daily activities, in efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus."
Amazon Prime won the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved works, with the project initially announced in November 2017. The show will not tell the same story witness in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit trilogies. Instead, it will tell a story set in the Second Age, which is when Sauron rose to power. It is not clear at this time if the delay will have any effect on the expected release dates for either show. This news comes to us via Deadline.