After a long search, writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have been tapped by Amazon Studios to develop and write their costly Lord of the Rings TV series.
Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke had previously suggested that creating a fantasy drama of this kind would definitely involve a solid writers room, and Payne and McKay have been selected from a shortlist of writers that were considered for the job – most of them having experience in writing feature-length scripts.
The duo was recommended for the job by a number of high-profile filmmakers and producers, including J.J. Abrams, who worked with Payne and McKay on the upcoming fourth Star Trek film.
With the search for the series’ lead writers over and done with, the development can now move on to the next stage, by setting up a writers room to collaborate with Payne and McKay on their vision. However, it’s unclear as to whether any of the other writers from the shortlist would be a part of this collection.
Payne and McKay said in a statement, “The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”
This series will explore new storylines preceding those in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. And while there has been speculation about certain restrictions imposed by those who hold the rights to Tolkien’s stories, Salke told Deadline in an interview last month, “I think you can know that we’re not remaking the movies, but we’re also not starting from scratch. So, it’ll be characters you love.”
The question still remains as to whether there’s actually anyone who wanted this series, and with ongoing “discussion” between Amazon and Peter Jackson as to his involvement and whether they will be able to use his New Zealand sets, it isn’t seeming like Jackson wants to be a part of this adaptation.