Frodo Baggins was not pleased to learn season two of The Lord of the Ringstelevision series would not be returning to New Zealand for filming. Since all of the movies took place among the rolling green pastures of New Zealand, Elijah Wood, who played Baggins, had good reason to complain and wasn’t shy about making his feelings known.
For the first time ever, a project associated with The Lord of the Rings is not filming in New Zealand. Instead, Amazon is moving production to the United Kingdom, and fans are less than thrilled.
‘The Lord of the Rings’ television series
Tolkien fans were delighted to learn that Middle-earth is returning, this time to the small screen. An Amazon Original, the upcoming television series is set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
The unnamed series will premiere on September 2, 2022, on Amazon Prime Video. There will be eight newly released weekly episodes for season 1. Not much is known of the plot to date, other than the story will focus on the “Second Age,” a time of relative peace.
According to Deadline, “the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.”
Amazon bought the television rights to Lord of the Rings in 2017 for an astounding $250 million. With a five-season commitment, estimated at a $1 billion investment, it is considered the most expensive television series in history.
Season 1 production started in Auckland, New Zealand, in early 2020 but was delayed because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In August 2021, filming for the first season was finally completed. Amazon Studios expressed its gratitude, saying, “Our talented producers, cast, creative and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”
Frodo’s reaction to filming outside of New Zealand
New Zealand has been home to Middle-earth for the past 20 years. Peter Jackson‘s The Lord of the Rings movies, The Hobbit trilogy, and Season 1 of the upcoming television series have been filmed there.
When Wood found out season 2 of the television series would be leaving the lush green pastures of New Zealand to film in the United Kingdom, he was left speechless. The acclaimed actor took to Twitter, posting a simple facepalm emoji in reaction to the decision.
BBC News reported the move is a “major blow for New Zealand’s entertainment industry.” Amazon Studios was already receiving a 20% tax rebate for production costs and was offered an additional 5 percent to stay in New Zealand.
Amazon, who is already filming several projects in the United Kingdom, said, “The shift in locations was part of a plan to expand its production space and consolidate its footprint in the UK.”
Will Elijah Wood appear in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ television series?
Digital Spy reported the new television series has “plenty of scope for lots of new stories, characters, and worlds to explore.”
Wood will not reprise his role as hobbit Frodo in the Amazon Original series. The highly-esteemed actor told IndieWire he would not be opposed to a cameo, “If there was a world where that made sense and was organic to what they’re doing.”
Referring to the new television series as the “Silmarillion’ era, Wood said, “They’re calling it ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ but I think that’s slightly misleading.” The Sin City actor explained the material is chronologically placed too far back in history to represent any of the original characters.
As Wood waits for the release of the new television series, he is busy working on his own projects. He recently finished the voiceover for Psychonauts 2 video game, and according to IMDB, the film L.A. Rush is currently in post-production. He is also currently working on The Toxic Avenger, a movie about a towel boy that transforms into a superhero, co-starring Kevin Bacon and Peter Dinklage.
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