After four books and nearly ten cinema hours of Frodo, Gandalf, Gollum and the rest of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy universe, Amazon and Warner Bros. are reportedly in “early talks” for at least the fourth iteration of The Hobbit.
Variety reports the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and Warner Bros. Television have engaged in some preliminary discussions with Amazon Studios to develop a series based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novels.
“Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is said by sources with knowledge of the situation to be personally involved in the negotiations, which are still in very early stages,” reports Daniel Holloway of Variety.
So while no deal is officially in place, and all of the rumored involved parties have declined to comment, things have allegedly at least progressed to the point where the richest man on the planet has pulled up a seat at the negotiating table.
A Lord of the Rings adaptation would conceivably add another binge-worthy series to the growing cannon of Amazon’s original programming. So far that list includes notables like the Emmy-winning Transparent, The Man in the High Castle and Mozart in the Jungle.
Naturally, people puzzled by what seems like an obvious cash grab, and some Tolkien stans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure at Hollywood’s insatiable thirst for a bankable reboot.
Amazon wants to do a Lord of the Rings series. pic.twitter.com/hpsqrJj0Mf— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) November 4, 2017
A Lord Of The Rings series on Amazon? Alexa's gone too far now. She's drunk with power.— Chris Hewitt (@ChrisHewitt) November 4, 2017
Amazon: “We’re making a Lord of the Rings tv show!”— Shannon de Cógáin (@shanruss07) November 4, 2017
Amazon: we want to make a Lord of the Rings TV series— GOAT Movie Podcast (@GOATfilmpodcast) November 4, 2017
Financially, there’s sound reasoning for the potential move, as Forbes estimates the early aughts Lord of the Rings trilogy earned a combined $3 billion at the box office. Add in the recent resignation of Amazon Studios President Roy Price amid a sexual harassment allegation, and the perceived need for the emerging streaming service to make some news of the non-scandal variety becomes clear. It also doesn’t help that Amazon took an L with the respective cancellations of Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Last Tycoon.
Again, nothing has been confirmed by any of the parties rumored to be involved. But given the veritable cash cow that Tolkien adaptations have become, and the Game of Thrones-sized hole that will soon be left in the televised fantasy genre, you can guess how this story will likely end.