Amazon’s big Middle-earth-set show based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien is slowly moving forward. During this week’s Television Critics Association press tour, the company says that it has brought on two writers, JD Payne and Patrick McKay to write and develop the series.
The two writers are relative newcomers: both worked on the original script forStar Trek: Beyondand were part of the writer’s room forGodzilla vs. Kong, and are writing the upcoming sequel toStar Trek: Beyond, which will be helmed by S.J. Clarkson.Deadlinesays that the duo will help manage a writer’s room for the project, and that Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said during a panel they will now work on continued development for the show. She also indicated that the studio had gone through a number of pitches before selecting Payne and McKay.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Amazon might set its show in the same world as that of Peter Jackson’sLord of the RingsandThe Hobbittrilogies. While Jackson has denied that he’s involved in the series,Deadlinesays that “conversations continue with Jackson about a potential involvement and about possibly filming the series on his sets in New Zealand.”
The Middle-earth show reportedly won’t be a straight-up adaptation ofThe Lord of the Rings trilogy, but will ““explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’sThe Fellowship of the Ring,” with a possible spinoff series also part of the deal. The show won’t come cheap: Amazon is reportedly paying around $250 million for the rights to the franchise, with the production costs estimated to reach $500 million.