Yesterday it was announced that Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show leaves New Zealand for Britain to film Season 2. Some readers may remember when I covered the story of New Zealand winning the contract for Lord of the Rings. At the time it was reportedly over my own home Nation of Scotland. It became obvious why New Zealand was chosen and that was the tremendous money being offered by the New Zealand Government to film there. You see New Zealand gets a lot of tourism for being the home of Lord of the Rings since Peter Jackson’s lauded trilogy was made there.
What Amazon Said
According to a press release, the shift “aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K.” Pre-production is expected to begin in the UK in the first part of 2022 with post-production continuing in New Zealand through June 2022.
“We want to thank the people and the government of New Zealand for their hospitality and dedication and for providing The Lord of the Rings series with an incredible place to begin this epic journey,” said Vernon Sanders, VP and Co-Head of TV, Amazon Studios. “We are grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited, and others for their tremendous collaboration that supported the New Zealand film sector and the local economy during the production of Season One.”
“As we look to relocate the production to the U.K., we do not intend to actively pursue the Season One MoU five percent financial uplift with the New Zealand government or preserve the terms around that agreement, however we respectfully defer to our partners and will remain in close consultation with them around next steps,” said Albert Cheng, COO & Co-Head of TV, Amazon Studios.
Does It Matter?
Now there are a lot of fans out there who are unhappy with this move. Some fans believe New Zealand is the only place Tolkien’s world can be shot. Mainly because Peter Jackson shot his movies there. In reality, this is rubbish. Even back when Jackson was making the movies there were initially plans to shoot in the U.K. You know, where Tolkien grew up, and lived, and wrote the stories based on the lands he lived around?
Its also hilarious to think there is scenery in New Zealand which you cannot get in Scotland. The countries have a very similar rural feel to them and have everything from mountains to coastlines and all in between. So no, New Zealand is not the home of Lord of the Rings. For many people it’s just where Peter Jackson decided to make his movies. Ok, as a Brit, I am slightly biased. However, I never felt any thematic connection between NZ and the story, quite the opposite in fact. Tolkien loved Britain and thus the home of Tolkien, and the stories he wrote, is Britain.
As for where in the U.K. shooting will take place, or why this decision was truly made? Sorry I have no answers for you. There’s one suggestion I did think of. Perhaps with the majority being British actors in the show, don’t want to work on the literal other side of the World from their families? It’s just a suggestion. Filming three 3-hour movies is a different prospect entirely to filming several seasons of likely 45-50-minute episodes. Britain is proving a great place for filming right now with many projects on the go and more to come. It’s another great win for the British film industry to have Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show come back. Especially when it was thought a lost opportunity. However, it is not good news for New Zealand.
Sound off below as always, as Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show leaves New Zealand for Britain in Season 2.