J.A. Bayona Tapped to Direct Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona has been selected to direct the first two episodes of Amazon‘s Lord of the Rings TV adaptation, according to Deadline.

“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honour and a joy to join this amazing team,” said Bayona. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story.”

Bayona also will executive produce alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza, with the project penned by John D Payne and Patrick McKay who are both also attached to write an upcoming Star Trek sequel. They will lead the Lord of the Rings writers room which is believed to include scribes from Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and others.

Payne and McKay had this to say about Bayona’s induction:

“We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belén joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series. We have been great admirers of J.A.’s work for years, and know that his epic, cinematic and deeply heartfelt aesthetic is the perfect sensibility to bring Middle-earth to life anew.”

Bayona’s first feature film was 2007’s The Orphanage which received strong acclaim when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, but the director got his first blockbuster project with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018.

For what it’s worth, it’s a fairly popular trend (and not entirely without cause) to poo-poo the latest round of Jurassic Park sequels but I think Fallen Kingdom redeemed itself significantly because of the cinematic direction which captured some very evocative, iconic and emotional imagery, something that may be missing from most of the earlier ventures.

And frankly, who can imagine The Lord of the Rings without the sweeping mountain landscapes, endless skies and real-life fantasy imagery of the Jackson films; on this strength alone, hopefully Bayona will be the man for the job here.

Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios seemingly confirms this thinking:

“The scope and breadth of J.A.’s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings. He’s a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multitalented producing partner, Belén.”

Amazon’s reportedly nine-figure deal with the Tolkien Estate for the rights to LotR means that they have room for this multi-season project to grow (the timeline it introduces is 3,441 years long!); it will be produced alongside Harper Collins, Tolkien Estate and Trust and New Line Cinema who created the 2000’s film trilogy.

What do you guys think? Anyone excited to see where Amazon takes this iconic franchise next?

Some might make the comparison to the well regarded Star Wars spinoff The Old Republic, where the time frame being so different from what we’re familiar with, it may as well lend itself to being a parallel world. All the old familiar tropes are there, but the story is put together by someone new, with new faces. It remains to be seen exactly how much the LotR series will echo the Jackson films in the name of franchise familiarity and how much will really branch out into a previously unexplored setting.

Let us know your thoughts on the Amazon Lord of the Rings series below!