Ever since Peter Jackson’s film trilogy debuted 20 years ago, The Lord of the Rings has been closely associated with New Zealand. The association is so strong that Amazon filmed the first season of its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show in New Zealand, but it sounds like that was the only season that will be filmed there. Amazon is now indicating that it will shift production for season 2 halfway around the world, and that’s a decision that may not sit well with some Lord of the Rings fans.
According to Deadline, Amazon has decided to move production for its Lord of the Rings TV series to the UK for season 2. This move is happening for a multitude of reasons, it seems. For starters, Amazon was getting an increased tax rebate that it no longer qualifies for, but more importantly, it seems, was the country’s strict handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on production.
After New Zealand implemented lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic, much of the cast and crew were stuck in the country for the better part of two years. Those lockdowns also stopped Amazon executives from visiting sets while the first season was being filmed. Deadline reports that more than half the show’s cast is British, so moving production to the UK will allow them to be closer to home. That’s potentially an important thing given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the pandemic, thanks to the Delta variant and any others that may surface.
Perhaps more importantly, Amazon already has shows filming in the UK. Moving production on The Lord of the Rings to the country would open up the possibility of filming at other locations within Europe. Deadline says that Amazon is shipping the sets for The Lord of the Rings halfway around the world between New Zealand and the UK, so this will be a costly move.
It could be controversial among fans of The Lord of the Rings, too. Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy is famous for its sweeping landscapes, and while those can certainly be found in the UK, the TV series may not match the grand feel of the movie trilogy beyond season 1. We’ll see if Amazon winds up following through with its decision to move or if the New Zealand government can work out a deal to get production to stay, but for now, it seems like Amazon is packing up shop and moving location for season 2 and beyond.