Disney Rival’s Secretive $1 Billion ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series Most Expensive In History

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in Amazon's Rings of Power

Credit: Amazon Studios

There’s a big entertainment property on the market outside of The Walt Disney Company’s control, and it’s quietly receiving the biggest budget ever to be put into a television show.

'Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' official title and logo
Credit: Amazon Studios

Related: Fans Upset as Amazon’s “God-Awful” ‘Lord of the Rings’ Character Photos Spark Major Debate

Barely anyone knows that Amazon owns the rights to produce TV works based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium — outside of New Line Cinema’s Peter Jackson-helmed blockbuster trilogy, the Lord of the Rings, that is.

The new Amazon series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022) is all set to air exclusively on Amazon Prime Video this Fall, on September 2, 2022.

Amazon Rings of Power Galadriel (left) Halbrand (right)
Credit: Amazon Studios

In a recent TIME article, it was revealed that the Rings of Power series is receiving a historic amount in funding for its production — a whopping $1 billion — as the series has just begun filming its second season, before the first even airs.

In 2017, Amazon billionaire and alleged Tolkien fan Jeff Bezos initiated the acquisition of the Lord of the Rings, purchasing certain “Tolkienverse” rights for $250 million.

Bezos, in an attempt to convince Tolkien fans that things Amazon go “beyond” the economic with the franchise, says that “our hearts are in it”:

Middle-earth is such a beloved world, and telling the story of the forging of the Rings of Power is a privilege and a responsibility. I hope we do Tolkien’s work justice.

It goes beyond making a commercially successful show. Everyone working on the show read these stories as kids and our hearts are in it.

'Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power' first series look
Credit: Amazon Studios

Being the first ever television series in history to have this staggering amount pumped into its costuming, casting, CGI, effects, production and creative teams, it’s clear that that Amazon truly believes in this juggernaut of an intellectual property to pull some serious weight.

Perhaps even centering “Tolkien” as synonymous with the Amazon Prime Video brand as “Marvel Studios” and “Star Wars” is now to Disney and Disney+, or even other fantasy giant “Game of Thrones” to HBO, “DC” to Warner Brothers, and even “Stranger Things” to Netflix.

Sophia Nomvete as Dwarven Princess Disa
Credit: Amazon Studios

Related: Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Team Firmly Address Diverse, Multicultural Cast Complaints

In a statement that could potentially be a portent of Disney’s fate, Head of Amazon Studios, Jennifer Salke says to TIME:

The jewels of the crown are the big tentpole shows that invite in the whole family. And this is the crown jewel.

Morfryyd Clark as Galadriel
Credit: Amazon

There is definitely a “spare no expense” approach being taken by Amazon, here, with Rings of Power also receiving help from the Tolkien Estate for its production. The show has also consulted Tolkien scholars and language experts to deal with the meticulously crafted lore and language of Tolkien’s Middle-earth — if the San Diego Comic Con 2022 (SDCC) panel is to be believed.

The fantasy heavyweight and now billion-dollar franchise looming on the horizon could potentially spell (Mount) Doom for the Walt Disney Company’s astonishing near-monopoly of the entertainment industry.

Could the streaming bubble be about to burst?

What do you think of Rings of Power? Will it pose a threat to Disney’s entertainment empire? Share your thoughts down below in the comments!

More on The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022) is an upcoming Amazon Original by Amazon Studios slated for a September 2, 2022 release on Amazon Prime Video, developed by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

Also filmed in New Zealand, the almost $1 billion series will act as a “soft” prequel to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books and Peter Jackson film trilogies, surrounding the Fellowship of the Ring’s quest to deliver the One Ring to Mount Doom — instead of following the adventures of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), Pippin Took (Billy Boyd), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Arwen (Liv Tyler), in facing up against Saruman (Christopher Lee) and even Gollum/Smeagol (Andy Serkis).

The new Amazon Prime Video TV show follows a new cast, where Elrond (Robert Aramayo), Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), replace Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett respectively from the movies. Along for the ride are Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), and new characters Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), Arondir the silvan elf (Ismael Cruz Córdova), the human Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), and Cole (Maxim Baldry).

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