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Amazon Shifts Lord of the Rings Filming from New Zealand to UK

Amazon said its series would take place on Middle-Earth during the Second Age, which is thousands of years before the events of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books [File: Nick Perry/AP Photo]


Amazon Shifts Lord of the Rings Filming from New Zealand to UK


The second season of Amazon Studios’ “Lord of the Rings” series will be shot in the United Kingdom, instead of New Zealand, where the successful cinematic adaptations of the fantasy novels were shot.

The undulating mountains, meadows, and forests of New Zealand served as the setting for Sir Peter Jackson’s acclaimed Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.

The yet-untitled fantasy epic takes place thousands of years before JRR Tolkien’s works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Season 1 of the highly anticipated program was recently completed in New Zealand by the studio.

“The shift from New Zealand to the U.K. aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios’ tentpole series and films already calling the U.K. home,” Amazon Studios said in a statement.

The first season’s post-production will continue in New Zealand until June of next year. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the first season of the program cost $465 million. It will launch on Amazon’s streaming platform Prime Video in September 2022.


“Thousands of high quality jobs all across the UK will be created and supported by The Lord of the Rings television series so this is very exciting news,” UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden said.

The precise location of the series’ filming is unknown. According to Deadline, Amazon is bringing the elaborate sets it created for the first season to the UK and is already booking stages for them. The firm has previously produced numerous Prime Video programs, including Neil Gaiman adaptations Good Omens and Anansi Boys in the UK.

“We want to thank the people and the government of New Zealand for their hospitality and dedication and for providing The Lord Of The Rings series with an incredible place to begin this epic journey,” said Vernon Sanders, VP and co-head of TV at Amazon Studios.

“We are grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited, and others for their tremendous collaboration that supported the New Zealand film sector and the local economy during the production of Season One.”

According to Deadline, Amazon’s decision was influenced by New Zealand’s rigorous management of the COVID-19 epidemic. More over half of the cast is British, yet due to border limitations and quarantine laws, they were forced to stay in New Zealand for two years. The cast will be considerably closer to home with a UK base, and the producers may be able to utilise other sites around Europe.

Tours of the village of “Hobbiton” and the filming locations are a popular tourist attraction.

When Amazon confirmed New Zealand as the show’s production location in September 2019, it complimented the country’s “hospitality” and stated it looked forward to expanding their relationship. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement Friday that the New Zealand government is dissatisfied with the studio’s decision to shift filming overseas.

The extra 5% incentive given by New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant, as well as the 20% grant the production currently qualifies for, will be revoked, according to Nash.

“I am enormously proud of the New Zealand screen sector,” Nash said. “The Amazon Studios’ decision in no way reflects the capabilities of our local film industry or the talents of the people who work in it.”

Season two pre-production will begin concurrently in the UK early next year, according to the studio.

The show will be produced by Amazon Studios for a total of five seasons.

After hearing the news, actor Elijah Wood, who portrayed Frodo Baggins, reacted with a single, dissatisfied emoji.

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