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Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee and Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins in 2001's Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (Photo: 7831/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Someday soon, Middle-earth will come complimentary with free, two-day shipping. Following speculation that Amazon was eyeing a Lord Of The Rings TV series to play the role of its Jeff Bezos-mandated Game Of Thrones killer, the internet retailer’s studio arm has now ordered multiple seasons of a series set in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, a massive (and reportedly massively expensive) acquisition requiring the assembly and cooperation of a veritable fellowship of rights holders.

“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon Studios head of scripted series in a press release. Not said in the press release: The title of the series, the creative team attached, when production is expected to start, when Amazon is shooting to premiere the thing. Today’s news is a confirmation of the series, but it’s a very preliminary confirmation.


What is known is when the series will take place. Set prior to the events of The Fellowship Of The Ring, “the television adaptation will explore new storylines,” suggesting that the dream of a Tom Bombadil stand-alone episode is still very much alive. Such is the magic of our present TV age, where it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that a company that got its start selling books might one day spend upwards of nine figures just for the rights to weave the onscreen story of a character who has alternately delighted and vexed readers for decades.

“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord Of The Rings,” Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins, says in the press release. That’s worth a cheap laugh at the expense of the internet behemoth that built its empire by putting your favorite bookstore out of business and butting heads with publishers, but Amazon Prime Video’s current lineup certainly is bibliophile-friendly. Yeah, it chucked a pair of Fitzgerald-based series into the fires of Mt. Doom earlier this year, but being in the Philip K. Dick business has turned out well for the streamer, I Love Dick converted a questionably adaptable post-modern text into one of 2017’s most interesting shows, and its current slate of pilots includes one inspired by the most recent winner of the Booker prize. And since the popular literary canon contains no cautionary tales about a powerful being who forges and then becomes consumed by a powerful, costly talisman with which they can conquer their every competitor—“rule them all,” if you will—the bookworms at Amazon had zero reason not to move forward with this Lord Of The Rings project.

Managing editor, The A.V. Club

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