Netflix pitched Marvel-style ‘Lord Of The Rings’ TV universe to Tolkien estate

The “Marvel approach” apparently “freaked out” the estate

Netflix and HBO reportedly pitched several ideas for Lord Of The Rings TV shows to the Tolkien estate, before Amazon landed the rights with The Rings Of Power.

Details have emerged via The Hollywood Reporter, where it’s claimed HBO pitched “essentially remaking” Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The estate, however, was apparently not interested in retreading ground from Middle-Earth’s Third Age.

According to the report, Netflix pitched several shows including a Gandalf series and an Aragorn drama. An insider said: “They took the Marvel approach, and that completely freaked out the estate.”

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Before they decided on The Rings Of Power, set in the Second Age of Middle-Earth, Amazon executives interviewed “dozens of writers, producers and directors” for the project. According to the report, one of those was the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame), who pitched the Third Age “as an Aragorn story”.

Is Halbrand Sauron
‘The Rings Of Power’ stars Charlie Vickers as Halbrand. CREDIT: Amazon

The decision to go with The Rings Of Power showrunners J.D Payne and Patrick McKay, who had no credits in TV before, was driven by their passion and knowledge of Tolkien’s world.

“The people we were up against have résumés that on paper would be more suited to the gig,” McKay told THR. “We were the dark horse candidates.”

Based on the appendices to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Rings Of Power covers events in the Second Age including the rise of Sauron, the forging of the rings and the last alliance between Elves and Men.

The first two episodes, released in September, became Amazon’s most-watched premiere after it gained 25million viewers worldwide within 24 hours.

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In a four-star review, NME wrote: “The Rings Of Power’s fresh faces do some of the most interesting work on the show. As a start, this is an excellent one. Tell Sam Gamgee the tale’s not done yet.”

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