Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series is another, big step closer to reality, with the hiring of J.A. Bayona to direct the first two episodes.
In addition to helming the first two episodes of Penny Dreadful, Bayona’s credits include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the Guillermo del Toro-produced The Orphanage (which a friend keeps telling me is one of the scariest films. I’m getting there).
Screenwriters JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who penned the upcoming fourth entry in J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek franchise, are developing the epic saga TV series, which will explore new storylines preceding novelist J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team,” Bayona, who will also get an executive producer credit, said in a statement to Deadline. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story.”
Amazon’s LOTR series, first announced back in November 2017 with a multi-season series order (and the potential for spinoffs), has been largely shrouded in secrecy; no casting details, episode count or premiere date have yet been revealed. Sir Ian McKellen, though, has hinted that he may reprise his role as wizard Gandalf — which he played in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies — for the Amazon series.