We knew Amazon would pay a pretty penny to develop its own Lord of the Rings TV series, but they might as well raid Smaug’s lair. New estimates put the TV iteration of Middle Earth at $500 million (to start!), and all before Amazon has even assigned talent to the project.

It was previously suggested that a $250 million price tag for the rights alone could skyrocket as much as $1 billion when production costs were said and done, but new internal Amazon documents from Reuters have a (slightly) more conservative estimate. The $250 million rights figure is accurate, but “production and marketing could raise costs to $500 million or more for two seasons.” It gets worse, though. That number is triple what Amazon paid for two seasons of the now-flopping Man in the High Castle, and would thus “need to draw three times the number of Prime members” – over three million new subscribers to balance the cost.

For some measure of context, Amazon was previously said to spend only $4 billion a year on its original content. The series is likely to run between $100 million and $150 million each season, likely surpassing Game of Thrones as one of TV’s most expensive. And don’t get us started on whether Amazon would pony up to have Ian McKellen or Andy Serkis back in their roles.

Amazon has yet to announce any real details of its Lord of the Rings TV series, so stay tuned.

Check Out 100 TV Facts You May Not Know!

More From Hot 975