It may not come as a surprise to anyone, but Amazon's upcoming TV adaptation of 'Lord of the Rings' is going to film in New Zealand, with production expected to begin this year.
Scotland was previously in the running against New Zealand, with areas in the far north highlands expected to double as Middle-Earth. However, New Zealand won out with its bid, securing three sites across Auckland in the north island.
The announcement came late last night in Auckland from Amazon and was reported by Stuff.co.nz, with New Zealand's Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford hailing the announcement as "fantastic news for New Zealand's screen sector and our economy."
"The new 'Lord of the Rings' series, along with other significant screen projects underway or in development, provides New Zealand with a global stage to demonstrate our skills, innovation and outstanding natural beauty," Minister Twyford said.
James Cameron's 'Avatar' sequels are currently filming in Wellington, and of course, 'Lord of the Rings' and New Zealand are closely tied together through the original movies. Peter Jackson, himself a Kiwi, filmed all three movies across the two islands, as well as the three 'Hobbit' prequels.
However, Jackson will have no involvement with the new series, with directing duties falling to JA Bayona, who previously took on 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'. While no air date has been set for the series as of yet, early reports indicate that 2021 is the likely arrival time.
With Amazon forking out a budget of $1 billion for the series, 'Lord of the Rings' is set to be the most expensive TV show ever made. So far, Will Poulter has been cast in a leading role, with other casting announcements expected in the coming months.
Neither Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom or Viggo Mortensen are expected to reprise their roles as Elrond, Legolas and Aragorn, as the series will be set thousands of years before the events depicted in 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings'.