The Television Critics Association, or TCA, hosts multiple events each year for the networks and streaming networks to deliver news to audiences. This weekend, we received a lot of interesting tidbits about the Television landscape, and how it is shifting in some ways. One of the big topics on everyone’s mind was Amazon Prime. While the streaming platform has definitely had some hits, including “Transparent” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” there has been a push for a blockbuster hit on the platform. That’s why the news that they’ve set J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay as the showrunner for “The Lord of the Rings” set off excitement at the conference.
Amazon announced Payne and McKay as the showrunners for new blockbuster series as production begins to ramp up. Payne and Mckay have a working relationship that dates back two decades and has recently put them in a position to work on big budget projects. Among these projects has been “Star Trek 4” and “The Jungle Cruise” film for Disney. They seem comfortable working on tentpole projects, and “Lord of the Rings” will certainly be a tentpole series for Amazon.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and the world of Middle-Earth has long been a fascination for filmmakers. The most famous adaptations came from Peter Jackson in the early 2000s, which culminated in “Return of the King” winning 11 Oscars. His “Hobbit” trilogy was less successful with the Academy but earned nearly $3 Billion at the worldwide box office. The animated films from Rankin/Bass and Ralph Bakshi were also considered critical successes in the 1970s and 1980s. With a sprawling world at their disposal, Payne and McKay have a lot of room to tell stories in Middle-Earth. Now all they have to manage is expectation.