Production on Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings TV series and Netflix’s adaptation of the anime Cowboy Bebop, set to star John Cho, is gearing back up. Earlier in the week, it was announced New Zealand had given the green light for Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Bebop to begin filming. The news comes a few months after these projects — among numerous others — went into hiatus as concerns grew over the spread of COVID-19 on sets around the world.
Now, according to the New Zealand media site Stuff (and via Variety), the country’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment has granted the crews for several film and TV projects to enter the country. New Zealand has been notably among the most stringent countries when it comes to containing and eradicating the spread of COVID-19, including measures to restrict who move through the country’s borders. Among the crews granted access to enter the country are those for the Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Bebop, as well as the Power Rangers Beast Morphers TV show and movie projects The Greatest Beer Run Ever and Sweet Tooth. These projects join James Cameron‘s Avatar sequels and Jane Campion‘s The Power of the Dog as ones allowed to film in New Zealand right now.
Amazon’s LOTR series was in pre-production in the New Zealand capital of Auckland at the start of the pandemic back in March, and no filming has been done yet. Meanwhile, Cowboy Bebop will be starting fresh when the show’s crew lands in New Zealand. Variety notes 206 crew members and 35 family members from all projects will be allowed into the country. Stuff also notes 10 new Avatar crew members have been granted access and will join the 35 crew members already working in the country. It is estimated production on all projects listed above will result in around 3,000 new jobs created and bring $400 million to New Zealand’s economy.