Why Amazon Excluded Peter Jackson From ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’

Peter Jackson brought Middle-earth to life when he adapted both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit into movie trilogies. Lord of the Rings is one of the most renowned trilogies ever, being celebrated by both critics and audiences alike. Viewers can return to Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power from Amazon, but Jackson will not be returning as Amazon excluded the director from the upcoming series. 

Peter Jackson says Amazon did not include him in the development of the new ‘Lord of the Rings’ series

Robert Aramayo as Elrond and  Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon
Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel | Amazon Studios

Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is regarded as one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Based on the fantasy novels from J. R. R. Tolkien, it is one of the few trilogies where two movies, The Two Towers and Return of the King, were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, with Return of the King winning.

Despite the amazing success of the Lord of the Rings movies, Jackson was excluded from being involved in the new Amazon series. In an interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Jackson said Amazon did initially ask if he wanted to be involved but he said he couldn’t do it without first seeing a script. However, that script never came. 

“They asked me if I wanted to be involved — [writer-producer Fran Walsh] and I — and I said, ‘That’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script,’” Jackson explained. “So they said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we’ll send them to you.’ And the scripts never showed up. That’s the last thing I heard, which is fine. No complaints at all.”

Tolkien’s estate did not want Jackson to be involved with the Amazon series

Shortly after Jackson made these statements, Amazon Studios issued a statement of their own: “In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings films and are thrilled that he is looking forward to watching The Rings of Power.”

Amazon does not give an exact reason for Jackson’s exclusion. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the reason could be that Tolkien’s estate does not want Jackson to be involved. The estate had no involvement in the films and Christopher Tolkien publicly disapproved of the movies, saying they “eviscerated” his father’s books, and they turned these novels into “action movies.”

The estate is involved in the series and Amazon bought the rights to make the show for $250 million. Leaving Jackson out of it must have been a part of the negotiations Amazon had with the estate before buying the rights. 

Jackson says he will still watch the upcoming series

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place a thousand years before the events of Jackson’s trilogy. It follows the creation of the rings that eventually led to Sauron spreading his darkness across Middle-earth. The New Zealand director is looking forward to watching the series, despite not being involved. 

“I’ll be watching it. I’m not the sort of guy who wishes ill will,” Jackson shared. “Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it’s something to celebrate. The one thing I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 2, 2022. 

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