New Zealand will once again be home to Middle-earth. Amazon announced that its upcoming series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium will begin production in Auckland “in the coming months.”
The series is expected to take place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, potentially set in Númenor, Tolkien’s version of Atlantis, and prior to the forging of the Rings of Power.
In its press release, showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said that they “needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff.” The release didn’t come with any information on casting, or when the series is expected to debut on Amazon Prime Video.
In July, Amazon announced its production team for the series, which includes familiar names such as Tom Shippey, John Howe, and others. J.A. Bayona (Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom) has been tapped to direct the first two episodes of the series.
The show’s official Twitter feed echoed the announcement with a simple message: an emoji of the New Zealand flag.
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) September 17, 2019
While it hasn’t been officially confirmed that the series will connect to Peter Jackson’s two film trilogies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there were hints that the film’s producers were speaking with the director to some degree.
It also makes sense that Amazon might return to New Zealand: the country has built out extensive production infrastructure for studios, and the country’s landscape has synonymous with Middle-earth since Jackson’s films. Controversially, New Zealand’s government changed its labor laws to accommodate The Hobbit‘s production in 2010, something that Lindsay Ellis covered in her trilogy of Hugo-nominated YouTube videos.