Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J. A. Bayona is booking a flight to Middle-earth.
Deadline reports the filmmaker is set to direct the first two episodes of Amazon’s highly anticipated The Lord of the Rings television series. Based on the mythology of author and linguist J.R.R. Tolkien, the series will take place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, when Sauron, the title character, still had a physical form and menaced the Men of the continent in direct ways while trying to establish a religion dedicated to his own fallen lord, Morgoth.
His activities took him far and wide. In Elven lands, he took on the form of Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, and taught the Elvish craftsman Celebrimbor to make the Rings of Power. In the island nation of Numenor, he was a powerful foe who eventually corrupted the royal line with the intent of using them to attack the Undying Lands. All of his machinations set the stage for his own undoing thousands of years later.
“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team,” said Bayona in a statement. “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.” In addition to directing the first two episodes, Bayona will be an executive producer with producing partner Belén Atienza along for the ride.
As the director of these episodes, Bayona will be closely involved in setting the tone of the show, establishing its look, and casting its characters. He will be instrumental in finding Sauron’s fair form as well. At the moment, it is unclear how much of a resemblance the series will have to the feature film series directed by Peter Jackson. At one time, Jackson talked with Amazon about getting involved and it was said the streamer was working with Warner Bros. to import Elvish designs and maintain a certain visual continuity. Hopefully, that will be the case as a series without the visual contributions of designers Alan Lee and John Howe would be a strange thing to reconcile. New Line Cinema, the Warner division responsible for the films, is involved as a producer, so that continuing Lee/Howe look may be possible.
The Lord of the Rings is set to debut in 2021.