Director J.A. Bayona will follow in the footsteps of Peter Jackson on his way to Middle-earth.
Bayona, the Spanish filmmaker who last helmed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and A Monster Calls before that, will direct the first two episodes of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings prequel series, EW has learned.
“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,” Bayona said in a statement. “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.”
Bayona will also executive produce with his producing partner Belén Atienza.
The series takes place in The Second Age of Middle-earth, long before the adventures of Frodo Baggins, Aragorn of Gondor, and Gandalf the Grey in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring novel.
This time period is also referred to as The Age of Númenor and, in a map released by Amazon in March for the prequel, the lost island city Númenor is shown. It was a place where men ruled the seas before they were tempted to venture to the lands of their deities and the gods punished them by sinking the island.
Plot details are not currently known, but The Second Age is also the time of the founding of the Elven city Rivendell and dealings with Sauron before his physical body was destroyed in the war for the Ring of Power.
“We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belen joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series,” JD Payne and Patrick McKay, the two showrunners and scribes writing the Lord of the Rings series, said in a statement. “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.”
With Bayona at the helm, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the second film in the planned Jurassic World trilogy, earned $1.31 billion at the worldwide box office. Bayona also previously directed episodes of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful in season 1.
Deadline was the first to report the news.