Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series will officially shoot in New Zealand, its studios announced this morning. Pre-production has already started. I am very excited.

Amazon says production will kick off in Auckland in the coming months. I don’t know about you guys but I’m in Melbourne so that’s less than four hours away. Four. I am ready to fly over and somehow force my way onto set.

Star Trek writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are the showrunners. Yeah, they don’t have any previous experience on this particular job but Amazon must’ve picked them for a reason.

“We’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” they said in a presser.

Set in the Second Age in Middle-earth, the series will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. 

Midsommar star Will Poulter has reportedly joined the cast in an undisclosed role – please be a young Elrond. And Aussie actor Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper) is “in talks”, make of that what you will. At the time, Variety’s sources said Kavenagh has been cast as a character named Tyra. 

Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad), Helen Shang (Hannibal), Jason Cahill (The SopranosJustin Doble (Stranger Things), Stephany Folson (Toy Story 4), and Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) make up the writing team.

J.A. Bayona, whose directing credits include The Impossible, The Orphanage, A Monster Calls, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will helm the first two episodes and also serve as executive producer, alongside his partner Belén Atienza.

Kate Hawley (Crimson Peak, Edge of Tomorrow, and Suicide Squad) is set to design costume, and Academy Award winner Ricky Heinrichs will serve as the production designer. He’s worked on Sleepy Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

Also, the OG LOTR illustrator/concept artist John Howe will return as well as Tolkien Scholar Tom Shippey. 

Image: Lord of the Rings