Having established myself as NR’s primary “reporter” on the Amazon Studios Lord of the Rings TV series (which is not a readaptation of Peter Jackson’s films but of events far into Middle-Earth’s past), I am obligated to report that the series, which just finished filming its first season in New Zealand, where Jackson filmed, is taking production to the United Kingdom. In reporting on the news, Deadline attributes some of the motivation for this decision to the way New Zealand has dealt with COVID-19:
The pandemic, which no one anticipated when the series was first greenlit, impacted the show’s production which was shut down — like virtually all American series — at the onset of the global outbreak in March 2020. Because of how New Zealand has tackled Covid, closing its borders to keep the virus away, the cast of the show, more than half of whom are British, stayed in the country for about two years without being able to spend holidays with their families. The lockdown also prevented Amazon executives from visiting the sets to monitor the high-profile — and hugely expensive — shoot. In light of the wide spread of the highly contagious new Delta variant, the New Zealand government has said that the current border restrictions will remain in place at least until 2022.
Deadline also reports that the production crew wanted to be able to take advantage of filming locations throughout Europe, as the Game of Thrones TV series, filmed primarily in Ireland, was able to do. Deadline also notes that J. R. R. Tolkien himself resided in the U.K. (though he was born in South Africa). I have already speculated breathlessly and baselessly about this series, and I don’t think this news really provides fodder for me to do much more . . .
. . . unless the decision to leave New Zealand means that this new series will not only move geographically away from what made the series great, but also aesthetically. In this regard, the invocation of Game of Thrones, while understandable, could be seen as ominous. But even that is a stretch.
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