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Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one excited for Amazon's Lord of the Rings series. It's huge -- both money-wise and in its scope -- but still somehow ... underhyped? I refuse to accept this. Especially now, when some actual progress is happening and it sounds positive.

J.A. Bayona has signed on as an executive producer of Amazon's Lord of the Rings series, and he'll also direct two episodes. Yes, he directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which wasn't that great, but he also directed The Impossible, The Orphanage, and A Monster Calls. Plus, he has TV experience, directing the first two episodes of Penny Dreadful. The Spanish director excels at fantasy and horror, so it's good news that Amazon has his creative eye on the team.

Here's J.A. Bayona's statement on joining the Fellowship, per Variety:

J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team. I can’t wait to take audiences around the world back to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story.

Yes, the Lord of the Rings series will be telling stories set in the Second Age, which lasted for 3441 years (!) and ended when Sauron's army was defeated by The Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The Ring of Power emerged during this time period, and there's a good bet we'll see more of that. That led into the Third Age, which ended with what we saw in the Lord of the Rings films, as the War of the Ring.

So the Lord of the Rings series is going to be a prequel to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. (It's still not 100% clear what role, if any, Jackson will play behind-the-scenes of the new series. There have been conflicting reports.)

Amazon wanted its own Game of Thrones, and that's basically what it's getting -- from being developed by a team of two, in this case the writing team of JD Payne and Patrick McKay, to Game of Thrones alum Bryan Cogman serving as a consultant. (He came to Amazon after HBO passed on his Game of Thrones prequel.)

Plus, Lord of the Rings' prequel series will presumably stream on Amazon while Game of Thrones' own first prequel series hits HBO. The War of the Prequels.

Amazon is heavily investing in this series, which is shaping up to be the most expensive series yet. The price tag was said to be around $1 billion, for five seasons and a potential spinoff.

With J.A. Bayona announced as directing two episodes of the first season, and also executive producing, we should be hearing more developments pretty soon. I'm talking major casting announcements, filming start dates, locations, and eventually a trailer and premiere date. It's too early for trailer talk, but early word put the series possibly premiering in 2021 on Amazon Prime Video. Maybe earlier if we're really lucky, but I doubt it.

Are you excited for this Lord of the Rings series? More excited, less excited, or equally excited for this vs. the Game of Thrones prequel series?

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