Amazon Studios revealed today it will shoot The Lord of the Rings TV series, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels, in New Zealand. Pre-production has started at Auckland Film Studios and the Kumeu Film Studios, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. We don’t have confirmation, but it’s assumed that WETA Digital will have a role to play as well.

“As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff. And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. “We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

We’ll be seeing some familiar scenery in the new series. While Amazon will be building new sets for the series, much of the reason for selecting New Zealand as the location for the Lord of the Rings movies still applies. The countryside is still just as gorgeous as it was in the films.

The series is being written by Payne and McKay and director Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona. Set in Middle-earth, it will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, apparently by several thousand years.

Payne and McKay serve as executive producers and showrunners for the series. J.A. Bayona will direct the first two episodes and also serve as executive producer, alongside his partner Belén Atienza. Executive Producers are Lindsey Weber, Bruce Richmond, Gene Kelly, Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill and Justin Doble.

It has been confirmed, by the way, that Peter Jackson will have nothing to do with the new series. It’s a natural assumption to make, but Jackson has gone on the record confirming that he is not involved.

Amazon has signed a deal for five seasons of the series.

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