Why HBO didn’t want a Lord of the Rings TV series

Lord of the Rings TV seriesIt was recently confirmed that Amazon is in the process of making a Lord of the Rings TV series happen, with there already being an order for multiple seasons. Yet, the streaming provider was apparently not the only potential home for the series — HBO was also a possibility, but the network’s CEO is making it clear that talks seemingly never went that far.

Speaking on the subject per Variety, Richard Plepler had the following to say regarding why there wasn’t more interest on the network’s part, especially given the success that they’ve had with another fantasy epic in Game of Thrones:

“I’d rather own our IP [intellectual property] 100%… and I’d rather have the ability to work with a product that is inextricably linked to our brand.”

Also, it makes sense that Plepler didn’t want another big-budget epic given that the network is far from done with the Game of Thrones universe. Even though the final season of the show itself is currently filming there are plans for so much more, including a number of spin-offs currently in development. Many of those probably won’t come to fruition, but we could see at least one of them happening. When you think fantasy and HBO you think Game of Thrones, and that’s the direction that the show wants to go moving forward.

We do think it is smart for Amazon to be in business with Lord of the Rings, though we do still have some of the same concerns about the property that we initially did — one of the biggest concerns we have is simply that this series is not actually an adaptation of the main story itself. Sure, we know that it would be strange to remake a movie that is not that far in the past, but it’s going to be tough to establish the same level of hype around a Lord of the Rings story that doesn’t involve someone throwing the One Ring into Mount Doom. It’s also a property that faded somewhat in popularity following The Hobbit trilogy — while those films were entertaining, at the same time they didn’t have the same exact critical acclaim that the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy did.

In the end HBO is going to be fine; more than likely, the same thing goes for Amazon. They’re taking a big gamble but given their deep pockets (especially for Jeff Bezos a.k.a. the world’s richest man), they can afford to take a few risks.

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