Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Production Leaves New Zealand. But Why?

Amazon might have just completed production on the first season of its Lord of the Rings series, but for its second, it’ll be relocating Middle-earth to a new location: the UK.

The studio announced the change in location yesterday, citing its existing studio space and production footprint that already exists in the country.

Up until now, New Zealand has been synonymous with Middle-earth, thanks to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. Director Peter Jackson took full advantage of the country’s beautiful landscape, and it wasn’t a huge surprise when Amazon revealed that it would produce its series in the country as well.

It is a bit of a surprise that Amazon is leaving the country, given that connection: the country boasts a thriving tourist economy thanks to the project, as well as plenty of incentives for studios to set up shop in the country for their projects. But, it’s a long flight and as Amazon noted in its release, it already has invested a considerable amount of money in studio space in England.

Amazon isn’t pulling up stakes and abandoning the country right away: it says that it’ll remain in New Zealand through June 2022 to complete post-production on the show’s first season, while pre-production on Season 2 will begin early in 2022.

The UK has been home to plenty of fantasy productions over the years: Game of Thrones was largely shot in Northern Ireland, while Outlander enjoys Scotland as a shooting location. And of course, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is intrinsically tied to rural England. Hopefully, the change in scenery won’t be too jarring.

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