After facing delays under the pandemic conditions, Amazon’s gargantuan Lord of the Rings series is back on track in New Zealand, with filming just resuming following six months hiatus after the global outbreak of COVID-19.
The series can be seen as Amazon’s bid for the epic fantasy serial gap left by Game of Thrones, and is being executive produced and partly-directed by JA Bayona of the Jurassic World films. The series is estimated to cost around $1 billion across its estimated multi-season run, with Amazon clearly staking much in the prestige Tolkien adaptation.
The pandemic shutdown mostly coincided with Lord of the Rings‘ planned hiatus, the first two episodes of the series nearly finished filming. Having already been renewed for a second season, the downtime was meant to give showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay time to begin plans for future seasons.
The series is set in Middle Earth before Tolkien’s seminal trilogy, though it’s unclear at the moment whether fan favorites from Peter Jackson’s films will make an appearance. A cast for the series has been revealed.
New Zealand’s efficient response to the coronavirus was just recently praised by James Cameron, whose Avatar sequels are back in the swing of production following the country’s near-eradication of the virus.
The conditions in New Zealand are forgiving to film and television production, such that Netflix’s hotly-anticipated Cowboy Bebop series is set to resume its production there as well. The live-action adaptation was well into its shoot when lead actor John Cho sustained a show-stopping injury, the production then further delayed by the pandemic. Netflix negotiated a return to production some months ago, with the return to shoot now expected to actually begin in the coming days.
The return to working conditions in New Zealand offer a glimmer of hope for an industry ravaged by the coronavirus, both in the exhibition of films and their production. It’s a sign that, with some hard locking down, the virus can be contained, and we can begin to return to a semblance of normalcy.
For more news on Lord of the Rings and the live-action Cowboy Bebop, stay tuned.