Amazon Prime Announces 'Lord of the Rings' Prequel

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It's official: Amazon Studios has secured TV rights to Lord of the Rings and is moving ahead with a multi-season series. "Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings". Amazon reportedly see the franchise as having potential to be as big on TV as Game of Thrones. It's not hard to see why studio executives would be pursuing a show like this, considering the movies collectively made almost $3 billion (£2.28 billion) at the Box Office and were nominated for a whopping 30 Academy Awards - of which they won 17. The multi-season adaptation will feature "new story lines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Fellowship of the Ring, '" which is the first "Rings" book, Amazon said in a statement. That leaves two options: Amazon could plumb the depths of the appendices of The Return of the King, potentially detailing the early romance of Aragorn and Arwen, the creation of the Rings of Power and the history of the line of kings from which Aragorn is descended. Starz's American Gods, MTV's (now Spike's and soon to be Paramount Network's) The Shannara Chronicles, and Syfy's The Magicians-all also based on popular fantasy-book series-have proven to be expensive shows with an even smaller fraction of the enthusiastic Thrones audience. Amazon has a plethora of material to choose from.

Getting "The Lord of the Rings" series at Amazon could help gain new clout and build up Amazon's ability to grow its Prime memberships through its video service.

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So maybe this Lord of the Rings reboot could be just the start of Amazon's bid to outdo the likes of Netflix - as well as keep worlds like Middle Earth still alive.

The move by Amazon comes as HBO prepares to conclude its mammoth fantasy hit Game of Thrones, which will nearly certainly premiere its final six episodes in 2019. Collectively the three "Lord of the Rings" films directed by Peter Jackson grossed more than $2.9 billion internationally.