Netflix previously pitched a Marvel approach to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ franchise to the Tolkien estate, such as a Gandalf series and an Aragorn drama. According to an insider, this completely freaked out the Tolkien estate.
According to THR, The Tolkien estate was going to entertain proposals for a Lord of the Rings series. Prime Video, along with every other entertainment company, was looking for “the next Game of Thrones.” Amazon’s founder and chairman, Jeff Bezos, was a longtime Tolkien fan. Going after The Lord of the Rings was a no-brainer, and an internal “fellowship” was assembled to figure out how to beat other prospective bidders.
Patrick McKay, the “showrunner” of the first season of Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings told “Some of what’s been hardest to hear is the cynical point of view that this is a cash grab,” McKay added, “It’s like, oh my God, the opposite. This is the most earnest production. This is not a paycheck job for anybody. This is a labor of love.”
Source: Discussing Film and THR