Lord of the Rings fans ‘gutted’ by decision to move Amazon series production from New Zealand to UK

‘New Zealand is the heart & soul of Lord of the Rings,’ wrote one fan

Louis Chilton
Friday 13 August 2021 12:07 BST
Iconinc 'For Frodo!' scene from Lord of the Rings

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Lord of the Rings fans have expressed disappointment after it was announced that the forthcoming series will film in the UK for season two.

The series, set in JRR Tolkien’s fantasy world centuries before the events of The Lord of the Rings, is currently in production, and will be released on Amazon Prime Video next year.

Often described as the most expensive TV series to ever be made, the first season is being filmed in New Zealand, where Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings film trilogy was shot.

However, it was announced yesterday that production would relocate to the UK for season two in a move that was criticised by New Zealand’s economic development minister Stuart Nash and Denise Roche, the director of Equity NZ, a union representing performers.

The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told The Independent in a statement it was “delighted” with the decision. “With our strengths in talent, production and the great environment created by UK Government initiatives including the creative tax reliefs and the Film and TV restart scheme, it’s clear that we are attracting the very best content makers in the world to our shores,” read the statement.

However, Lord of the Rings fans have been sceptical about the move, with many fearing that it will lead to an overabundance of CGI and could fail to capture the look of Middle Earth as popularised by Jackson’s trilogy.

“That Amazon’s LOTR mega-show will transfer from New Zealand to the UK for S2 is sad historically,” wrote one Twitter user. “But the greater worry is stylistic. Are they saying NZ’s magnificence was arbitrary, or now stored on hard-drives? Are we back in the digital realms that suffocated The Hobbit?”

“Amazon’s LOTR moving production from New Zealand to the UK for Season 2 is wack AF,” wrote someone else. “New Zealand IS Middle Earth!”

“Uh there’s a reason why Peter Jackson shot LOTR in New Zealand and not the UK and it’s not just that he’s from there,” wrote another Twitter user.

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“Even as someone who’s FROM the UK, this is so s***,” wrote one person. “New Zealand is the heart & soul of LOTR.”

A New Zealand-based fan wrote: “As a nation with such close ties to LoTR (I do also understand that JRR Tolkien is British), I would have hoped production would stay here. Super gutted but already questioned supporting production with a studio that has ties to Jeff Bezos.”

“Way more interested in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series knowing it’s going to have a noticeable landscape downgrade between seasons,” joked one person. “That’s classic television stuff.”

Others, however, were more positive about the move, with many people noting that the original Lord of the Rings books were not written with New Zealand in mind.

An exact release date for the series is yet to be announced.

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