With Season 1 finished filming, Amazon Studios has decided to move production of the most expensive TV show in history to the United Kingdom.
Primarily, this looks to be a fiscal move as many of Amazon’s current series are already being produced in the U.K. And while many who first experienced Tolkien’s work through Peter Jackson’s films will likely be dismayed that New Zealand will no longer be the visual home of Middle-Earth, Tolkien always intended his stories to be a sort-of mythology for England.
This also doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing will be produced in New Zealand; there could certainly be some filming there.
Here’s the entire press release:
CULVER CITY, Calif. – Aug. 12, 2021 – Amazon Studios announced today that its untitled The Lord of the Rings original series will film Season Two in the United Kingdom (U.K.). The shift from New Zealand to the U.K. aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios’ tentpole series and films already calling the U.K. home.
The highly anticipated The Lord of the Rings series recently wrapped principal photography on Season One in New Zealand and is scheduled to premiere on Prime Video in more than 240 countries around the world on Friday, September 2, 2022.
“We want to thank the people and the government of New Zealand for their hospitality and dedication and for providing The Lord of the Rings series with an incredible place to begin this epic journey,” said Vernon Sanders, VP and Co-Head of TV, Amazon Studios. “We are grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited, and others for their tremendous collaboration that supported the New Zealand film sector and the local economy during the production of Season One.”
Season One post production will continue in New Zealand through June 2022, and pre-production on Season Two will begin concurrently in the U.K. after the first of the year.
“As we look to relocate the production to the U.K., we do not intend to actively pursue the Season One MoU five percent financial uplift with the New Zealand government or preserve the terms around that agreement, however we respectfully defer to our partners and will remain in close consultation with them around next steps,” said Albert Cheng, COO & Co-Head of TV, Amazon Studios.
The new epic drama brings to screens for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. Beginning in a time of relative peace, thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.
The series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay. They are joined by executive producers Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J.A. Bayona, Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond, and Sharon Tal Yguado. Wayne Che Yip is co-executive producer and directs along with J.A. Bayona and Charlotte Brändström. Christopher Newman is a producer and Ron Ames is a co-producer.
A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003. The Lord of the Rings books has been translated into around 40 languages and has sold more than 150 million copies.