"The Lord Of The Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen", Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon Studios' newly-appointed head of scripted series, said in a statement. Given that the Lord of the Rings films are so well-known, it's hard to see how yet another adaptation would fulfill that directive - but Amazon is going to solve the problem by actually going beyond what the movies offered.
The television adaptation will be produced by Amazon's entertainment division Amazon Studios, the Tolkien Estate and Trust, book publisher HarperCollins and Warner Brothers' New Line Cinema.
The new series, available exclusively from Amazon, will explore story lines preceding "The Fellowship of the Ring", the first installment in the epic trilogy by Tolkien, a British author who died in 1973. Amazon's commitment to a multi-season order on its streaming service to produce and distribute a Lord of the Rings series also includes potential spin-offs.
The announcement marks the studio's biggest acquisition since former Amazon Studios President Roy Price resigned last month while on suspension and facing sexual harassment allegations.
Amazon's acquisition of the "Lord of the Rings" television rights sets up the streaming network to expand its genre programming. That show's third season will debut in 2018.
The events of the original Lord of the Ring trilogy of books - The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King - were adapted by director Peter Jackson into a trilogy of films in the early 2000s.
The cast included Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom.
The location of the multi-season series has not been announced, with Weta workshop declining to comment on the matter.