The filming of the second season of the multi-million dollar TV series "The Lord of the Rings," based on the fantasy saga by J.R.R. Tolkien, has been shifted to the United Kingdom, Amazon studios announced on Friday.
New Zealand's rolling mountains, meadows and forests were made famous as the backdrop for the "The Lord of the Rings" and the "Hobbit" film trilogies shot in the country by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson.
The filming of Amazon's multi-million dollar TV series of the epic fantasy is currently underway in New Zealand, but the studio plans to move filming of the second season to Britain, Amazon said in a statement.
"The shift from New Zealand to the U.K. aligns with the studio's strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios' tentpole series and films already calling the U.K. home," Amazon said.
The New Zealand government said it was told of the move yesterday and was disappointed at the decision.
"Amazon Studios advised that post-production work on Season One will continue in New Zealand till June 2022," Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement.
Amazon said pre-production on Season Two will begin concurrently in the U.K. next year.
The TV version of "The Lord of the Rings" is scheduled to launch in September 2022, Amazon Studios said earlier this month.
Amazon is spending about $465 million filming the first season of the show, according to the New Zealand government.
Nash said an extra 5% incentive offered by New Zealand's Screen Production Grant in addition to a 20% grant the production already qualifies for would be withdrawn. Amazon said it would not pursue the 5% financial uplift.
Amazon Studios is expected to produce five seasons of the show, making it one of the most expensive TV series ever.
Amazon has said the first season will be available in more than 240 nations, with new episodes released weekly.
The epic fantasy plot will take place thousands of years before the events narrated by writer J.R.R. Tolkien in his books "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings."
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