The show is set to move production to Middle-earth’s spiritual home (Picture: Amazon)
The upcoming big-budget Lord Of The Rings series will move to the UK from New Zealand for its second season, makers Amazon Studios have announced.
The as-yet-untitled prequel series, based on JRR Tolkien’s books and reported to be the most expensive TV project ever made with a $465 million (£336m) budget, has wrapped filming on its first instalment in New Zealand, and is set to premiere on Prime Video in September next year.
The switch to the UK ‘aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the country.’
It comes as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would be maintaining its strict border controls until at least 2022, to avoid allowing variants such as the highly contagious Delta strain into the country.
The New Zealand government plans to follow the advice of experts and maintain their elimination strategy, with borders not reopening until after their vaccine rollout is completed at the end of the year.
‘While the pandemic continues to rage overseas, and the virus continues to change and mutate, the best thing we can do is lock in the gains achieved to date while keeping our options open,’ Ms Ardern said.
Peter Jackson’s popular Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films were also shot in New Zealand (Picture: New Line Productions)
So far less than 20 percent of the country’s population is fully inoculated, as progress continues at a much slower than in most developed nations.
Vernon Sanders, VP and co-head of TV at Amazon Studios, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Post-production on the first season will continue in New Zealand until June 2022 and pre-production on the second season will also begin next year.
Peter Jackson’s hugely successful Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies were shot on location in New Zealand.
JD Payne and Patrick McKay will serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series, while actors announced as part of the ensemble cast include Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen and Sir Lenny Henry.
The drama will portray Tolkien’s Second Age of Middle-earth’s history, according to Amazon.
It is set thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings books and features the ‘long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth’.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘Delighted to hear that Amazon will be making their blockbuster second series of Lord Of The Rings right here in the UK.
‘With our strengths in talent, production and the great environment created by UK Government initiatives, including the creative tax reliefs and the Film and TV Restart Scheme, it’s clear that we are attracting the very best content-makers in the world to our shores.
‘Thousands of high-quality jobs all across the UK will be created and supported by The Lord Of The Rings television series so this is very exciting news as we build back better.’
Lord Of The Rings will premiere on September 2, 2022 on Amazon Prime Video.
Credit: Original article published here.