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Amazon's Lord of the Rings series: What we know
After six massively successful and award-winning films by Peter Jackson, viewers are about to get a chance to return to Middle-earth in the upcoming The Lord of the Rings series on Amazon Prime Video.
The Lord of the Rings series is still a ways away, but we’ve been learning more and more about what to expect when it comes out later this year, including a confirmed title — The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
So, read on for everything you need to know about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Prime Video. And if you don’t already have Amazon Prime Video, you can hit the button below to sign up.
What is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power about?
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place in the fabled Second Age in Middle-earth’s history. That means it’s set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s better-known The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings novels.
According to Amazon, the series “will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.”
As in previous outings, a cast of characters (some familiar) will work together to fight a growing evil. Story locations include the Misty Mountains, the elf-capital of Lindon, and the island kingdom of Númenor.
Season one finished filming in New Zealand last year. A title announcement teaser in January offered hints that the series will concern the forging of the rings of power, including the One Ring featured in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
A follow-up Super Bowl teaser (above) reveals the look and tone of the series, which seems as adventure-filled and effects-heavy as previous Lord of the Rings titles.
What is the “Second Age”?
The Second Age of Middle-earth is known as a time of relative peace. The Dark Lord Morgoth has been banished into the Void by the Lords of the West, known as the Valar. His apprentice, Sauron, is on the run.
Despite an early peacefulness, the Second Age is also when Sauron returns, building his fortress Barad-dûr and forging the rings of power, keeping the One Ring for himself.
Many familiar pieces of Lord of the Rings lore are established during the Second Age. Elrond builds his refuge Rivendell. Gondor and Arnor are founded by the heirs of Isildur. Galadriel makes her home in Lothlórien.
The Second Age ends with the defeat of Sauron by an alliance of Elves and Men, with the One Ring lost, only to be found again by Gollum and eventually Bilbo Baggins.
When and where can you watch it?
The Lord of the Rings series will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 240 territories and countries.
Check out: The best movies streaming on Amazon Prime
The first episode will air September 2, 2022.
New episodes will roll out weekly, in keeping with other Amazon Originals like The Wheel of Time.
No word on when future seasons will launch, but The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is set to be a multi-season series.
J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are serving as showrunners as well as executive producing. The choice of Payne and McKay has turned some heads. Prior to The Lord of the Rings series, the two have virtually no known film or TV credits.
Their IMDB pages list the two screenwriters as uncredited writers on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Beyond. But other than that, there’s literally nothing there. Abrams was reportedly one of several high-profile industry figures to recommend the duo for the job.
Joining Payne and McKay on writing duties is co-producer Helen Shang. Directing are executive producer J.A. Bayona, co-executive producer Wayne Che Yip, and Charlotte Brändström.
The Lord of the Rings cast is massive, and many of their roles have been confirmed.
Confirmed actors include the following:
- Robert Aramayo as Elrond
- Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV
- Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn
- Morfydd Clark as Galadriel
- Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir
- Markella Kavenagh as Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot
- Sophia Nomvete as Princess Disa
- Megan Richards as a curious Harfoot
- Charlie Vickers as Halbrand
- Daniel Weyman as the Stranger
- Maxim Baldry as Isildur
- Lenny Henry as a Harfoot elder
- Simon Merrells as Trevyn
- Benjamin Walker as King Gil-galad
- Charles Edwards as Celebrimbor
Other confirmed actors include the following:
- Ema Horvath
- Joseph Mawle
- Tyroe Muhafidin
- Dylan Smith
- Cynthia Addai-Robinson
- Ian Blackburn
- Kip Chapman
- Anthony Crum
- Maxine Cunliffe
- Trystan Gravelle
- Thusitha Jayasundera
- Fabian McCallum
- Geoff Morrell
- Peter Mullan
- Lloyd Owen
- Augustus Prew
- Peter Tait
- Alex Tarrant
- Leon Wadham
- Sara Zwangobani
- Will Fletcher
- Amelie Child-Villiers
- Beau Cassidy
Will there be more seasons?
The current plan is for five seasons of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. Altogether, the series is estimated to wind up costing $1 billion to become the most expensive series ever produced.
Amazon has already formally ordered a second season. Season two will move production from New Zealand to the U.K.
Amazon Studios is looking to expand its productions in the U.K., so having its main tentpole series based there makes some sense. Still, it’s an odd and no doubt costly move, though likely informed by some kind of longterm financial benefit.
As of yet, Amazon has not set a date to start production on season two or release it on its streaming site.
Is this part of the same series as the existing films?
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be a prequel to Tolkien’s novels rather than Peter Jackson’s films.
This makes some sense as Jackson isn’t in any way involved. It’s not 100% clear what deals Amazon might have made or be willing to make to tie this series into the existing films though.
If they were linked, it seems a safe bet that Amazon would have mentioned as much by now. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were huge, and they raked in cash. That existing brand is likely why Amazon is pumping so much money into the new show. So, while we can’t make any promises, don’t expect Elijah Wood or Ian McKellen to show up.
Amazon would likely have said something by now if the new series was tied to Peter Jackson's films.
Still, with season one being shot in New Zealand, and an early series image looking mighty familiar, it probably won’t be hard to connect the dots if viewers want to think of The Lord of the Rings series as a prequel not only to the books but also to the established film franchise. It’s all taking place thousands of years earlier, after all. It might not be canon, but you do you.
What to expect from The Lord of the Rings series
The Lord of the Rings: The RIngs of Power has been touted as the most expensive television series ever made, so there’s a lot to live up to.
In 2017, Amazon won a bidding war against Netflix for the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings. It cost the company $250 million, which would already have made it an incredibly pricy show. On top of that, the budget for season one was set at $465 million. That’s over $58 million per episode.
(The per-episode budget for the last season of HBO’s Game of Thrones was $15 million, if you want a point of comparison.)
With that much money going into it, the show better be good!
Despite various rumors in the years since it was announced, we have very little to go on. The series is not about a young Aragorn as previously thought. Patton Oswalt won’t be voicing a young Gollum. It won’t be a remake of Peter Jackson’s trilogy. And it won’t be a prequel to existing films so much as a new interpretation of Tolkien’s work.
We do know who’s in it, and that it will likely be visually striking like its predecessors.
That’s everything we know, as well as some things we’d like to find out, about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon.