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Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' project names its first director (who previously directed 'Jurassic World')

This series will reportedly explore what happened before 'The Fellowship of the Ring.'

Orlando Bloom (Legolas) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) escort Ian McKellen (Gandalf) to the stables of Edoras in New Line Cinema's epic adventure, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Orlando Bloom (Legolas) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) escort Ian McKellen (Gandalf) to the stables of Edoras in New Line Cinema's epic adventure, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Pierre Vinet, New Line Productions

SALT LAKE CITY — “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” director Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona will direct two episodes of the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” TV series for Amazon Studios, according to Deadline.

The news: Bayona will direct and executive produce the first two episodes of the fantasy drama along with producer Belén Atienza. He will take the “LOTR” director’s chair from Peter Jackson, who directed the epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy from the early 2000s. This series will reportedly explore what happened before “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

  • “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,” said Bayona. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story.”

JD Payne and Patrick McKay will write the series along with reported names such as Gennifer Hutchison of “Breaking Bad” fame and “Game of Thrones” vet Bryan Cogman.

  • “We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belén joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series,” said Payne and McKay. “We have been great admirers of J.A.’s work for years, and know that his epic, cinematic and deeply heartfelt aesthetic is the perfect sensibility to bring Middle-earth to life anew.”

Flashback: As I wrote for the Deseret News, Jackson told news outlets back in June 2018 that he didn’t plan on directing the new series or being involved at all. He was rumored to lead the project but he dismissed those rumors.

More rumors: It was unclear what the “Lord of the Rings” TV series would focus on. As the Deseret News wrote, there was social media speculation that the plot would center around the forging of the rings, which would put the events of the series way before the beginning of the movies.