This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Amazon has an ambitious TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings in the works. The streaming giant has already invested a ton of money into the series (an estimated $250 million was spent securing the rights to the J.R.R. Tolkein-penned franchise alone) and it's on pace to be one of the most expensive shows ever, with an estimated $1 billion budget over its five-season commitment. While those numbers are mind-boggling, some welcome and comforting news has surfaced about the forthcoming production: it's set to filmed in New Zealand, the "Middle Earth" of the mega-successful Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies trilogies.
The streaming giant announced the news Tuesday, revealing that “pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months." New Zealand reportedly beat out Scotland, one of Game of Thrones' settings, as the Lord of the Rings filming location hub. As the Guardian reports, "uncertainty over Brexit saw it fall out of favour with Amazon." Showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay told Stuff, "as we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle Earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains."
Other details about the forthcoming adaptation include the fact that the Tolkein Estate had some pretty intense rules for Amazon to keep the story as close to canon as possible. The show will explore new storylines that take place in the Second Age of Middle Earth. That means it comes before the events of Tolkein's The Fellowship of the Ring, which happens in the Third Age of Middle Earth. Actor Will Poulter of The Maze Runner franchise has signed on as the lead role in the series. The first season is will reportedly run a massive 20 episodes.