Amazon's The Lord of the Rings TV series shuts down due to coronavirus
It’s one virus to shut down them all.
Amazon Studio's The Lord of the Rings TV series has joined the long list of productions temporarily ceasing filming due to the novel coronavirus. The company's other television productions have closed up shop as well.
The title started filming in New Zealand just last month. New Zealand is taking strong measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 including mandating that everyone entering the country self-isolate (including returning citizens) and banning cruise liners from docking in its ports.
The project stars British actor Maxim Baldry (Years and Years), Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones) and Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper), among others. J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is directing the first two episodes and J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (Godzilla vs. Kong) are leading the writing team.
The Lord of the Rings is a prequel series set during The Second Age telling a new story in Middle Earth -- so it's not rehashing the story of Frodo and the One Ring as told in Peter Jackson's blockbuster films (photo above). Amazon has made a massive multi-season commitment to the project. The company hopes to air The Lord of the Rings series sometime in 2021.
Many U.S.-based scripted shows currently have likewise shut down. Given the lag time between production and air, the shutdown of scripted programming could start impacting broadcast network schedules in about six weeks. Unscripted shows such as late-night talk shows are already disrupted and either filming without a studio audience or, like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, on hiatus altogether. Also, several tentpole films originally planned for spring (No Time to Die, Mulan, A Quiet Place Part II, F9) have had their release dates pushed back. Major sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB have also been suspended (see the full list of cancelations).