Just as suspected, Amazon’s upcoming big-budget Lord of the Rings TV show will seemingly film in New Zealand. The show’s Twitter account posted a tweet that pretty much confirms it.
The tweet simply posted the New Zealand flag, which has sent fans into a tizzy about the show being filmed in the same country as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.
In June, the New Zealand Herald reported that a “huge” part of the Lord of the Rings TV show will film in New Zealand; Queenstown and Auckland were called out as potential filming locations.
It was previously rumored that the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show may film in Scotland. It’s still possible the production will shoot in other locations outside of New Zealand.
While New Zealand is a beautiful country filled with incredible scenery that has inspired some of the Lord of the Rings’ most iconic scenes, the country’s association with the franchise hasn’t been entirely smooth.
Warner Bros., the film giant behind The Lord of the Rings, made headlines in 2010 when it reportedly had a back-and-forth with the New Zealand government to ensure friendlier terms for the movie studio. As Fodors reminds us, the “Hobbit Law,” as it became known, focused on how film crews were considered independent contractors, and thus their ability to collectively bargain and enjoy protections and benefits came into question. The new government that took power in 2017 sought to adjust the legislation to be more worker-friendly, but it remains to be seen if anything has changed.
Whatever the case, Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said he’s optimistic about the law being changed. “We’re looking to restore a lot of workers’ rights that have been diminished over the last nine years, and that is a priority for us,” he said, as reported by Fodors. “It’s something that we want to have the legislation at least introduced within the first 100 days of government.”
For what it’s worth, this time frame has come and gone with no apparent change to the law.
The new Lord of the Rings show is set in the Second Age, which is a 3,441-year period that covered major events like the forging of the Rings of Power, including the One Ring; the War of Sauron, the beginning of the Ringwraiths, and when Numenor the island sank into the ocean. Also, it was during the Second Age that the Elven city of Rivendell was developed and the great battle where men, elves, and dwarves fought together for the first time against Sauron. A popular rumor was that the show would focus on a young Aragorn, but that may not happen.
JD Payne and Patrick McKay are writing Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show. They have no TV writing credits to their name, but neither did David Benioff and D.B. Weiss when they made the massively popular Game of Thrones series. Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show recently brought on Game of Thrones series producer Bryan Cogman, who was known as the “third head of the dragon” for Game of Thrones, along with Weiss and Benioff.
There is no word yet on when the Lord of the Rings show will premiere, but we’re beginning to find out who will star in it. Black Mirror actor Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh are in talks to play the lead roles, according to reports.
Behind the camera, Amazon has assembled an all-star team of writers and producers. The writers room for the untitled Lord of the Rings show includes Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), Helen Shang (Hannibal), Justin Dohle (Stranger Things), Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones), and Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4).
J.A. Bayona, the director of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is directing episodes one and two of the Lord of the Rings show.
Kate Hawley is the costume designer; she previously worked on Edge of Tomorrow and Suicide Squad. Rick Heinrichs, who won an Oscar for Sleepy Hollow and also worked on The Last Jedi, is the production designer; Jason Smith, who worked on The Revenant, Super 8, and The Avengers is the visual effects supervisor. Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey is also working on the new Amazon show, as is Lord of the Rings movie trilogy illustrator and concept artist John Howe.
The Amazon show also has numerous producers, including people who have worked on Westworld, Boardwalk Empire, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and The Departed.
In other news, a new Lord of the Rings video game focused on Gollum is in development at Daedalic Entertainment, while a AAA online Lord of the Rings game is also on the way.