Jeff Bezos may be the founder of Amazon, but he is still a “Lord of the Rings” fanboy at heart.
Ahead of Prime Video‘s release of the highly anticipated prequel “The Rings of Power,” the 58-year-old billionaire assured concerned fans that he sees the project as more than solely a cash cow, as some people previously claimed he does.
“Middle-earth is such a beloved world, and telling the story of the forging of the ‘Rings of Power’ is a privilege and a responsibility. I hope we do [author J.R.R.] Tolkien’s work justice,” he told Time magazine in an email.
“It goes beyond making a commercially successful show. Everyone working on the show read these stories as kids and our hearts are in it,” he added.
Critics have deemed the series — which is set 3,000 years before the original cult-classic films — is Prime Video’s big-ticket item to stay relevant in the streaming service space. Some worried that Amazon only acquired the series to attract subscribers — and, therefore, money.
However, Bezos is reportedly a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, so much so that he personally vouched for a “Lord of the Rings” spinoff during negotiations in 2017, Variety reported at that time.
He also reportedly helped save SyFy’s “The Expanse” as it was close to being shut down in 2018 until Prime Video swooped in and streamed it.
Bezos was on the frontlines of Amazon’s deal to acquire the rights to “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” for $250 million in 2017.
Though he vowed to stay true to Tolkien’s original tales, Amazon also created new, racially diverse roles in order to modernize the story.
Morfydd Clark, Nazanin Boniadi, Lenny Henry and Peter Mullan are a few of the cast members who will take their talents to Middle-earth in the upcoming eight-episode series. Portraits of the cast enchanted the internet back in February.
“The Rings of Power” streams on Prime Video on Sept. 2.