Amazon's 'The Lord Of The Rings' Series Resumes Production In New Zealand, Netflix's 'Cowboy Bebop' Soon To Follow

Amazon's The Lord of the Rings series is returning to its quest. Filming has resumed in New Zealand on Amazon's The Lord of the Rings TV show, with Netflix's live-action Cowboy Bebop soon to follow the highly anticipated fantasy series to one of the only film production-friendly nations with its COVID-19 situation firmly under control.

Two highly anticipated streaming shows are restarting production in New Zealand. Deadline reports that Amazon's The Lord of the Rings TV series has resumed filming, while Netflix's Cowboy Bebop series is slated to restart on September 30. Alongside Netflix's Sweet Tooth, which has been shooting in the country since two weeks ago, the two shows are among the handful of Hollywood productions that have been granted border exemptions by the New Zealand government. The largest being, of course, James Cameron's Avatar sequels, which have completed filming on Avatar 2 since resuming in June after a four-and-a-half-month suspension due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Lord of the Rings has resumed filming in West Auckland after production was shut down in mid-march amid the rapidly-spreading pandemic. The series, which is set to take place centuries before the events of the core Lord of the Rings trilogy, was close to finishing the first two episodes, directed by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's J.A. Bayona, before it was shut down. But the shutdown came at a somewhat opportune time, as Deadline reports that the production scheduled to go on hiatus for 4-5 months after filming the first two episodes in order to avoid the New Zealand winter. The hiatus gave the writing team, led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, time to write the scripts for season 2, which Amazon has already greenlit.

But it soon won't be the only genre epic hanging out in New Zealand, as Netflix's Cowboy Bebop is slated to resume shooting next. The live-action adaptation of the classic anime space western series was a couple of episodes into shooting its first season last fall when it was forced to halt due to star John Cho's knee injury. But its 7-9 month hiatus extended into nearly a year when the pandemic shut down productions worldwide.

Due to its immediate and strict reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand was able to virtually eradicate the virus from the country. Apart from Auckland, where there was a recent outbreak, the country lifted remaining coronavirus restrictions, including those affecting domestic film and TV productions, which received the green light to resume in May.