Netflix Pitched A Marvel-Style Lord Of The Rings Universe, Russo Brothers Wanted Aragorn Show – Report

Before Amazon Studios won the rights to make the Lord of the Rings TV series Rings of Power, HBO Max and Netflix were in the mix–this much we knew already–and now new details on their pitches have come to light.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that HBO pitched the Tolkien Estate on a series set in the Third Age, which is the timeline during which Peter Jackson’s movies took place. According to the report, the estate had no interest in making a TV series set during the Third Age, considering Jackson’s movies already dug deep into this time during Middle-earth’s history.

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Netflix, meanwhile, is said to have pitched “several shows” to the Tolkien Estate, including shows focused on Gandalf and Aragorn. “They took the Marvel approach,” a source said, adding that this “completely freaked out the estate.”

The Russo brothers, who made Marvel’s Avengers movies, were said to be involved in the pitch process. The report said they pitched a Third Age TV show about Aragorn, but no further details were divulged.

Amazon ended up winning the rights by promising a “close relationship” between the estate and Amazon in an effort to “protect Tolkien’s legacy.” Money also factored in, the report said. The $250 million fee that has been published was actually Netflix’s bid, THR said. Amazon’s offer was “tens of millions” less, but still a massive fee, according to the report.

The official word from Amazon Studios TV boss Vernon Sanders was that the company’s “collective passion and fidelity to Tolkien” helped secure the rights.

The report went on to say that the pitch from showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay that helped the estate sign on was for a show that would be “Braveheart, not Narnia.” The idea was that the show would take people to what they might believe was a “real and lived in” world.

The pitch process was lengthy, with Payne and McKay likening it to a “six-month presidential campaign” as they attempted to appease numerous executives and stakeholders. As an example of their commitment, the showrunners greeted Simon Tolkien of the Tolkien Estate in Elvish during one meeting.

Finally, the report mentions that Payne and McKay reached out to their mentor J.J. Abrams for help getting the deal across the line. Abrams spoke with the key players and put in a good word about Payne and McKay, and McKay says this effort “moved the needle” for them.

The full story is packed with tons of fascinating insights into the making of The Rings of Power and what’s to come in Season 2, which is now in production in the UK. And if you’ve got some cash burning a hole in your pocket, why not buy this incredible New Zealand estate for $5 million where several Lord of the Rings movie scenes were filmed.

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