'Lord of the Rings' TV adaptation gets multi-season Amazon deal

(USA TODAY) — Hobbits, meet Amazon. 

The famed creatures from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings will be featured in a TV series, as Amazon announced a multi-season production commitment Monday.

The Amazon Prime Video adaptation will focus on new stories in a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of three fantasy novels in Tolkien's beloved Rings series. The deal also includes a potential spinoff series at Amazon. 

The project comes amid turnover in Amazon's top programming ranks in the wake of a harassment scandal, and as Amazon chief Jeff Bezos urged the division to find its own version of Game of Thrones, a massive hit for HBO that's also based on a beloved fantasy book series.

Peter Jackson made three blockbuster films based on the Rings novels, with the third, 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, winning 11 Oscars, including the one for Best Picture.

The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” Amazon scripted series chief Sharon Tal Yguado said in a statement. “We … are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

Amazon announced the deal after reaching an agreement with Tolkien's estate, which issued its own statement.

“Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings,” said Matt Galsor, a representative of the Tolkien Estate and Trust and publisher HarperCollins.

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