Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke revealed that the streaming service is going to extraordinary lengths to protect the progress of its Lord of the Rings series from prying eyes.
When asked about the upcoming Lord of the Rings series, Salke told The Hollywood Reporter, "There's a fantastic writers room working under lock and key. They're already generating really exciting material. They're down in Santa Monica. You have to go through such clearance, and they have all their windows taped closed. And there's a security guard that sits outside, and you have to have a fingerprint to get in there, because their whole board is up on a thing of the whole season."
The Lord of the Rings franchise has steadily risen in popularity for close to a century, since the release of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit in 1937. It wasn't just popular; Tolkien's work shaped an entire genre and continues to inspire countless other fantasy worlds.
The films alone have grossed almost $6 billion at the box office across two trilogies -- only a fraction less than the box office total of all 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe films combined. In order to ensure that fans are able to enjoy every twist and turn they have to offer, it makes sense for both studios to put effort into preventing leaks and remain silent about any and all details until they're absolutely ready to be revealed. If nothing else, it helps to build anticipation.
Unfortunately, that's also why there are so few details available for the upcoming series. Amazon Studios came to a $250 million rights deal for the franchise. As part of the deal, Amazon committed to five seasons of the series in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate in order to produce a show that's not only unique but faithful to the world of Middle-Earth. According to Salke, production is expected to begin some time around 2020, with J.D Payne and Patrick McKay attached as showrunners.