Over the last 15 years, one of the most successful movie franchises has been The Lord of the Rings. In that time, Peter Jackson has created 6 films - 3 from the original trilogy and 3 from The Hobbit. Between these film series, however, there is a veritable treasure trove of additional content. In particular, The Silmarillion.
Enter Amazon Studio, who has paid $250 million to purchase the rights to produce a television series in the Lord of the Rings universe. The series is not certainly being produced from the overwhelmingly large collection of content about Middle Earth contained within The Silmarillion, but it is a good guess. It is the largest repository of canon content set between the two major stories, and Amazon has confirmed that the series will take place in the same gap.
Like other Amazon Originals, it will be available to Amazon Prime Members, though an arrival date is not yet available. Based on the massive cost of the project, both monetarily and in time, as well as the early stage of production, it would not be out of the question for the first season to premiere in late 2019.
Even before production starts, however, Amazon has already made a multi-season commitment to the project. That means that, no matter how well the first season does, we are guaranteed at least a second season. If the show does as well as Amazon is obviously expecting, there is also talk of a spin-off series, which could bring the focus of the story down a new path, but there are a lot of variables before that could be a possibility.
As a long-term fan of Middle Earth, I am both excited for and worried about this project. There is a lot of possibility for success, but it would not be the first time a Middle Earth series was a disaster. The estate was so embarrassed by the last project, we almost didn't get the Peter Jackson series at all. I will be watching this production with anticipation and trepidation.