Amazon dropped staggering amounts of cash to put Lord of the Rings on TV, but it didn’t buy them time. New details of the billion dollar deal suggest that Netflix very nearly outbid them, and Amazon has a ticking clock to begin production.

The Hollywood Reporter provided additional details of the five-season deal, which includes $250 million for the rights alone, and could skyrocket to $1 billion when all is said and done. Amazon wasn’t the only streamer willing to put up crazy money for a trip to Middle Earth, however, as the company narrowly outbid Netflix for the rights. The 2017 deal was also said to be sight unseen – no writers or planned story details – but an interesting caveat notes that “Amazon must be in production within two years, according to the terms of the pact.” Better show us the meaning of haste, guys.

The series is likely to run between $100 million and $150 million each season, likely surpassing Game of Thrones as one of TV’s most expensive. And while neither Ian McKellen nor Andy Serkis are likely to resume any involvement with the franchise, the piece does note that director Peter Jackson’s attorney “helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon” after the rights deal closed.

We’ll see how quickly Amazon moves forward with its Lord of the Rings TV series, so stay tuned.

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