The head of Amazon Studios is trying to reassure Tolkien fans about their upcoming Lord of the Rings series, both about the characters involved on screen and the people working on the show behind the character.
Jennifer Salke made these comments in an interview with Deadline. She first addressed the general confusion about what the show will be about, as it has been described as a “prequel” rather than an adaptation of the famous book series.
“I think you can know that we’re not remaking the movies, but we’re also not starting from scratch,” she said. “So, it’ll be characters you love.”
That could mean a lot of things. Author J.R.R. Tolkien had a very large body of work set in the fictional land of Middle-earth, with Lord of the Rings actually serving as the last major story of the world’s history; for example, he spent fifty years writing The Silmarillion, an epic that is set thousands of the years before Frodo journeys to Mordor.
Presumably, Amazon would want to adapt the parts most relevant to the Lord of the Rings novels, featuring characters like Bilbo, Gandalf, Aragorn and Legolas. Then again, much of that potential material was already covered in The Hobbit movies, which served as prequels to the most famous movie series.
Speaking of which, Salke also took time to address the question of whether or not Peter Jackson, who directed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, would be involved.
“The Peter Jackson conversations, right now we’re right in the middle of them. It’s like, how much do you want to be involved, how little?”
For what it’s worth, Jackson (so far the only one who has directed these stories in live-action) has distanced himself from the upcoming Amazon series, saying that he is uninvolved. Salke acknowledges that “he’s even said some things,” but says that from Amazon’s perspective the studio is still in talks with him about the idea.
She also suggested that, like the films, the show may be shot in New Zealand.
Some fans are skeptical about this whole idea, so it seems that Salke and Amazon are eager to show that they can adapt this subject well. These fans will be paying attention as we learn more about their plans.