There is no doubt thatThe Lord of the Ringsis a powerhouse of an IP. Everyone wanted to get the rights to make a television series or films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s works after the success of Peter Jackson’s trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix and HBO wanted to get the rights to make their versions of series or films, and made pitches to the Tolkien estate. 

HBO essentially pitched a remake of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, retelling Middle-earth’s Third Age. Despite the Tolkien estate having issues with Jackson’s adaptations, with the late Christopher Tolkien, the author’s son, saying they “eviscerated” his father’s books, the estate wasn’t interested in exploring the same story with a new director. 

Netflix and HBO pitched their own ideas for 'The Lord of the Rings' franchise'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'Credit: Amazon Studios

Then, Netflix pitched several shows based around the Third Age to the estate. Some of these stories included a Gandalf series and an Aragorn drama.

“They took the Marvel approach,” said one insider to the Hollywood Reporter, “and that completely freaked out the estate.” 

Despite reportedly making a generous offer of $250 million for the rights to the series, Netflix was denied The Lord of the Rings. 

Under the leadership of Albert Cheng, Sharon Tal Yguado, and Dan Scharf, Amazon’s team wooed the estate by pledging a close relationship that would give the estate a creative seat at the table so it could protect the legacy of Tolkien. “It was our collective passion and fidelity to Tolkien that really won the day,” said Amazon Studios TV co-head Vernon Sanders. 

The agreement worked in the favor of Amazon and the Tolkien estate when Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne delivered several passionate pitches and wanted to take audiences and fans to Tolkien’s lesser-known Second Age, which would tell the pre-history of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the soul-corrupting rings.

Netflix and HBO pitched their own ideas for 'The Lord of the Rings' franchise'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'Credit: Amazon Studios

Although the response to the series has been mixed, with some enjoying the series and finding a faithful telling of Tolkien’s high-fantasy novels, and others feeling that the showrunners are dispassionate about the story and are only in it for the money, McKay and Payne feel that they are doing their best to respect Tolkien and his work.

As fans of the novels and Jackson’s trilogy, they say they are giving everything they have to their “dream project.” 

Even if you are not a fan of The Rings of Power, we are glad that it's making high-fantasy accessible to everyone. The series pays tribute to the work of Jackson’s visual language while respecting Tolkien’s worldbuilding

When you are pitching your own projects, make sure you have a unique take and a strong lookbook. You won't hit a home run every time, but just do your best to not take the most obvious route.

Do you think the series is missing something? Let us know in the comments! 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter