News

6 Things To Know About the Writers of Amazon's Lord of the Rings Series

JD Payne and Patrick McKay are running the show, but you probably haven't heard of them. Here's what we found out - and what it could mean for the series.

by | July 29, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Courtesy of Amazon)

This weekend, Amazon revealed the writers they hired to create their Lord of the Rings streaming series. Viewers still have not seen any credited work by JD Payne and Patrick McKay, so a lot of fans are still wondering just who are these guys who are going to take us back to Middle Earth?

Rotten Tomatoes did some research on the writing team of Payne and McKay. Through the latest announcements and some previous interviews with the writers, here is everything we found out the two men charged with brining Middle Earth to streaming.


1. THEY BEAT HEAVY COMPETITION FOR THE LORD OF THE RINGS JOB.

(Photo by © Amazon)

Normally when a Network buys a show, they green light a creator’s take; to snag Lord of the Rings, Amazon won the bidding (rumored at $250 million) without any concept in place. Then they interviewed writers and creators to entertain different takes on the franchise. Payne and McKay won.

“It’s such a vast world, there are so many different ways to go with that property,” Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke (pictured) said. “We had an abundance of enthusiasm in the creator/writer community for the project. So there was a lot of time spent talking about different takes. The next phase is a big development process as they build out this world.”


2. THEY HAVE FRANCHISE EXPERIENCE.

(Photo by © Paramount)

They’re not only writing the next Star Trek but have been attached to adaptations of Flash Gordon, Godzilla Vs. King Kong, Micronauts, Midas, Goliath, The Deadliest Warrior, and Boilerplate. They also worked on Star Trek: Beyond with Roberto Orci on a script so this will not be their first ride on the Starship Enterprise, although Doug Jung and Simon Pegg ended up finishing Beyond.

Payne and McKay wrote the upcoming Jungle Cruise movie for Dwayne Johnson, based on the Disneyland ride. Now, if they can get a whole movie out of a ride, then the Tolkien trilogy – plus prequel and appendices – should be more than enough source material for a long-running TV series.


3. PAYNE IS A PRACTICING MORMON –  WHICH RELATES TO TOLKIEN.

(Photo by Courtesy of Amazon)

Payne gave MormonArtist.com an interview in 2014 to discuss his faith and his screenwriting career. Tolkien is a text often related to the Mormon Church, so perhaps he can bring that angle to the series.

During college Payne served in a mission in Rome. It was there he truly fell in love with telling stories. “While in Italy, in the hours and days and months of interacting incessantly with thousands of people, I became fixated upon the power of story,” McKay told MormonArtist.

Of course, many have cited religious parallels between Tolkien’s work and Mormonism and other religions. Since the show will not be adapted directly from the book, perhaps Payne will have a chance to draw new connections between religion in our world and in the world of Middle Earth, if he chooses to.


4. THEY’VE BEEN WRITING TOGETHER FOR 20 YEARS.

(Photo by © New Line)

According to Amazon’s press release, Payne and McKay met in a high school debate club. The 2014 interview puts their meeting in 1997. That’s two decades of writing and developing together, and by 2014 they had written 15 screenplays together, according to the Payne interview.

“Our worldviews are sometimes contrasting, but always complementary,” Payne told MormonArtist. “Between the two of us, we almost never get stuck, be it in brainstorming, pitching, drafting, revising, or any other part of the process.”

In an interview with TrekCore, McKay detailed more of their high school collaborations. They directed a play and then began wrrting one together. Payne went to Yale for engineering and McKay went to a creative writing grad school in Washington, D.C. but they remained partners.


5. THEY’RE TELLING STORIES BEFORE THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.

Various sources report that the series will take place before The Fellowship of the Ring, with Tolkien site TheOneRing.net reporting that their sources say it will be about a young Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen’s character in the trilogy.

So, they’ll be called on to write original work – of sorts. Some of the original screenplays the duo have written include The Black List screenplay Escape. Law Zero was also to be an original futuristic sci-fi action movie for Warner Brothers, but it never got made.


6. THEY RELATE TO FRODO.

(Photo by © New Line)

In the press release announcing their gig on Lord of the Rings, Payne and McKay said, “We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care. It is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime. The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity.”

Now do those sound like guys to follow into Mordor or what?

Tag Cloud

italian aliens Apple TV Plus Holidays Black Mirror facebook CNN MSNBC Netflix Christmas movies Box Office RT21 Pop TV high school A24 movie telelvision batman Summer TV SXSW sports ESPN LGBT ITV YouTube Premium Mindy Kaling jamie lee curtis what to watch robots football HBO Max miniseries marvel cinematic universe YouTube golden globes strong female leads SundanceTV universal monsters 99% die hard Film Academy Awards Ghostbusters X-Men Television Academy rom-coms Reality Competition Epix Podcast Universal based on movie stoner toy story renewed TV shows cancelled concert discovery YA parents Tomatazos Marvel Studios American Society of Cinematographers Ovation USA new york Sneak Peek Awards Tour political drama TCA Awards Logo Rocketman godzilla Brie Larson Classic Film 2021 Comics on TV FXX crime series travel Spike Hallmark sag awards Toys mutant Musicals Acorn TV theme song children's TV scary movies Crackle Pride Month streaming movies dogs E! deadpool disaster television cancelled TV series comiccon game show Interview Teen canceled TV shows Apple TV+ new star wars movies crime drama Countdown saw 2017 Endgame Crunchyroll emmy awards Pop Film Festival ghosts Year in Review fresh Winter TV obituary anthology documentaries international Kids & Family stop motion james bond docuseries 21st Century Fox rotten movies we love romantic comedy FX true crime dragons Sony Pictures romance Fall TV Premiere Dates Masterpiece news El Rey nature Mudbound HBO Go Holiday witnail TCM dramedy richard e. Grant Tumblr Character Guide Amazon Prime Video indiana jones Freeform TLC women golden globe awards Star Wars blaxploitation Columbia Pictures halloween tv Trivia Sundance Nat Geo LGBTQ First Reviews Apple Shudder worst movies YouTube Red Amazon Studios best Exclusive Video Winners Watching Series Cannes Infographic ratings kong psychological thriller Lifetime Christmas movies DGA HBO christmas movies 45 Netflix FOX Calendar all-time Travel Channel book adaptation ID The Purge zombies hollywood australia Horror BET laika TBS crossover RT History spain TCA 2017 Rocky Amazon cancelled television comic Comic Book spanish language trailers Mary Tyler Moore Reality remakes The Walt Disney Company screenings docudrama 20th Century Fox Set visit The Walking Dead The Witch Ellie Kemper FX on Hulu teaser Disney streaming service vampires screen actors guild OneApp technology Cartoon Network Britbox Country blockbuster Biopics movies scene in color WarnerMedia blockbusters Video Games criterion Extras Legendary GLAAD cults TV renewals Comedy cooking Spectrum Originals know your critic monster movies foreign BBC Arrowverse war WGN hispanic TV Land dc Baby Yoda justice league name the review Polls and Games spinoff NBC Sundance Now rt archives Family President franchise medical drama Women's History Month award winner critics CBS All Access green book festivals psycho cats Thanksgiving Adult Swim Super Bowl Song of Ice and Fire talk show Superheroes worst Animation Paramount Pirates mockumentary Funimation MTV Binge Guide Writers Guild of America Cosplay versus DC streaming service black asian-american Warner Bros. zero dark thirty comedies Rom-Com Nominations PlayStation Western finale ABC Signature Marvel Television 007 Mystery 2019 twilight PBS Election Red Carpet Captain marvel satire science fiction kaiju Schedule Comedy Central Tubi New York Comic Con slashers Oscars politics thriller Lifetime Disney The CW child's play lord of the rings Mary poppins TV movies Mary Poppins Returns IFC Films venice binge directors Elton John TV One festival BBC One serial killer Fox Searchlight doctor who cartoon Certified Fresh joker mission: impossible supernatural SDCC elevated horror Disney+ Disney Plus spy thriller Shondaland latino tv talk CMT spider-man 71st Emmy Awards adaptation Television Critics Association Tarantino Martial Arts animated Hallmark Christmas movies rotten NYCC cars BAFTA prank Trophy Talk classics Trailer boxoffice Music Starz reviews IFC Pixar natural history Best and Worst First Look Opinion Christmas Food Network films Stephen King BBC America live action book scorecard composers cancelled TV shows National Geographic free movies boxing GIFs GoT heist movie Pacific Islander casting superhero comic books Anna Paquin Heroines ABC See It Skip It documentary History police drama 2020 PaleyFest transformers Disney Channel stand-up comedy french Lucasfilm Paramount Network werewolf 2018 Sci-Fi VOD halloween aapi DC Comics AMC 2016 TruTV video on demand The Academy DirecTV VH1 Action indie adventure Fox News Photos Marvel diversity TCA Winter 2020 Walt Disney Pictures Chernobyl Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hidden camera Sundance TV singing competition APB Drama chucky hist Valentine's Day Emmys The Arrangement Creative Arts Emmys Dark Horse Comics target dark Lionsgate zombie Hear Us Out 72 Emmy Awards Disney Plus Hulu independent fast and furious A&E game of thrones 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt unscripted king kong harry potter sitcom Pet Sematary nbcuniversal canceled MCU popular razzies Musical Showtime Awards Nickelodeon quibi comics Peacock Spring TV USA Network Fantasy Amazon Prime breaking bad TCA Emmy Nominations CW Seed Bravo Image Comics kids dceu streaming Avengers crime thriller 24 frames Superheroe Rock Star Trek archives spanish toronto CBS sequel ViacomCBS Quiz Vudu TNT DC Universe Syfy OWN period drama biography jurassic park Paramount Plus Turner Classic Movies Alien south america anime 93rd Oscars revenge a nightmare on elm street Esquire new zealand japanese pirates of the caribbean reboot cinemax ABC Family Black History Month video Discovery Channel nfl San Diego Comic-Con Broadway VICE 4/20 space social media superman Marathons historical drama E3 cops TIFF Turner BET Awards 2015 sequels Grammys