Peter Jackson is famously not involved in Amazon's Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series, which is deliberately trying to keep itself separate from Jackson's famous trilogy. But there was evidently a point when the studio was at least willing to entertain the possibility, even going so far as to reach out to Jackson directly. When the director asked for scripts, though, Amazon apparently abruptly went silent.
“They asked me if I wanted to be involved – [writer and producer Fran Walsh] and I – and I said, ‘That’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script,'” Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter. "So they said, 'As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we'll send them to you.' And the scripts never showed up. That's the last thing I heard, which is fine. No complaints at all."
Jackson jumpstarted the epic fantasy genre 20 years ago with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, paving the way for Game of Thrones and many other shows. He is a big reason why Amazon is betting big on the new series, spending hundreds of millions dollars on the rights and the production.
Amazon responded in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, "In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings films and are thrilled that he is looking forward to the watching The Rings of Power."
Nevertheless, the Rings of Power showrunners are said to be fans of Jackson's and were interested in making overtures, THR reports. Former head of genre programming Sharon Tal Yguado was also reportedly interested in getting Jackson involved. However, the hurdles would have been significant, with the Tolkien Estate among the stakeholders reportedly opposed to him having a role in the show owing to Christopher Tolkien's criticism of the original movies.
Amazon originally spent $250 million in a bidding war to acquire the rights to Lord of the Rings, giving the streaming giant access to The Fellow of the Rings, The Two Towers, Return of the King, and The Hobbit — but not The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, or The History of Middle-earth.
The Rings of Power will focus on Lord of the Rings' Second Age, thousands of years before the original Lord of the Rings takes place. It will include familiar faces like Elrond, though other names like Gandalf are yet to be confirmed.
As for Jackson, he says he bears the show no ill will. "I’ll be watching it. I'm not the sort of guy who wishes ill will. Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it’s something to celebrate. The one thing I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will release on September 2. Check out all of our coverage, including why the show was a winner at San Diego Comic-Con as well as five exclusive clips from the show.
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Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.