Ever since Amazon announced that it would produce a series set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, a big question that’s hung over the production has been how well it will line up with the existing adaptations of the classic novels. Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-shot films have undoubtedly cemented the image of Middle-earth in the minds of many viewers, and the studio has filmed its first season in the country, which should provide some visual continuity for viewers.
Jackson isn’t involved in the series, although he did take some meetings with Amazon, but the studio has apparently courted another major figure who helped define the series: Howard Shore, the composer who produced the scores for all of Jackson’s Middle-earth-set films.
According to Deadline, Shore is in negotiations to provide the sountrack for the upcoming series. He came from an unconventional background: He was a member of a jazz band in the 1960s and ’70s before moving into television, where he worked as—among other things—the musical director for Saturday Night Live. Along the way, he began work as a composer starting with 1978’s I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses, as well as projects like The Fly, Big, Dead Ringers, Silence of the Lambs, and a number of others.
He came to widespread attention with his score for Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King. In his book Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle-earth, Ian Nathan recounts that Shore was Jackson’s first choice to score the project, and after being brought down to the set to take a look at the production, he agreed to take on the project, beginning his work in 2000, and working closely with Jackson and the film’s producers.
For his efforts, he earned two Academy Awards for Best Original Score for Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King, as well as one for Best Original Song, the latter’s “Into the West.” Years later, Jackson brought him back to score his Hobbit trilogy, providing some additional sonic continuity between the two adaptations.
We don’t have much to go on for how Amazon’s series will look, and how well it will stack up visually to Jackson’s series. But by bringing on Shore to provide the score, it appears that the studio wants to bring at least a bit of continuity between its series and the ones that audiences are already well-familiar with.