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‘Lord of The Rings': ‘Star Trek 4’ Duo JD Payne and Patrick McKay to Develop Series for Amazon

TCA 2018: Small-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien source material has multi-season commitment from streaming service

Last Updated: July 30, 2018 @ 9:23 AM

Two writers to rule them all: Amazon has tapped “Star Trek 4” duo JD Payne and Patrick McKay to develop the “Lord of the Rings” original series announced last November.

“The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity,” Payne and McKay said in a statement. “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.”

The TV series is set in Middle Earth and will explore stories that precede the events of Tolkein’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Amazon Studios has a multi-season commitment for the series, and the deal also includes a potential spin-off series.

The new “LOTR” series will be produced in cooperation with the Tolkein Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Payne and McKay have been working together since high school, where they met on debate team more than 20 years ago. They recently worked on “Star Trek 4” with J.J. Abrams, “Jungle Cruise” for Disney, and setting up their original 2017 Blacklist drama script “Escape” with Academy Award-nominated producer Mike De Luca. They are repped by  Verve, Kaplan Perrone and Hansen Jacobson.

“‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios, back when the series was first announced. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking ‘The Lord of the Rings’ fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

“We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for ‘The Lord of the Rings,'” representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins Matt Galsor also said at the time. “Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”