Amazon Studios on Saturday announced the showrunners, executive producers, J.R.R. Tolkien scholar, costume designer, special effects supervisor and others who will form part of the creative team behind its big-budget Lord of the Rings prequel drama series for Amazon Prime Video that will start production in 2020.
On Saturday Jennifer Salke, Amazon Studios head, announced that Amazon has started a global casting search for the various character roles.
The expensive, as-yet-untitled 5 seasons series will be set during the Second Age and will include the island and era of Númenor. In the Tolkien mythology, the Second Age was the time period when the Rings of Power - including Sauron's One Ring who himself was still human - came into existence.
"As our journey into Middle-Earth begins, we are in excellent hands with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay at the helm, with this incredible team of talent that they’ve assembled," said Jennifer Salke.
"The depth and breadth of the experience of this writing and production team is truly awesome, with a real respect for and knowledge of Tolkien lore. We're so happy to have them on board and to see this exciting series start to come to life."
Lord of the Rings will be produced by Amazon Studios, in co-operation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment and is rumoured to start around 2021. The cost will come in at $1 billion for at least 5 seasons.
The series will be overseen by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay as showrunners and executive producers with J.A. Bayona who will direct the first two episodes. J.A. Bayona and producing partner Belén Atienza will also be executive producers.
"This team is our Fellowship - assembled from around the world, all walking the road together to try and accomplish something far greater than any of us could on our own," said J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay in a statement.
"We feel humbled and extremely lucky to be surrounded by such inspiring and talented women and men."
Lindsey Weber, Bruce Richmond, Gene Kelly and Amazon's former head of genre Sharon Tal Yguado, will all be executive producers.
Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill and Justin Doble will be writer/executive producers.
Bryan Cogman and Stephany Folsom will be consulting producers, with Ron Ames as producer. Helen Shang is a writer/co-producer, and Glenise Mullins is writing consultant. Kate Hawley is constume designer, and Rick Heinrichs will serve as production designer.
Jason Smith is visual effects supervisor, with Tom Shippey as Tolkien scholar. The illustrator/concept artist is John Howe.