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 quite a ways away, but we’ve been learning more and more about what to expect when it comes out next year.
So, read on for everything you need to know about The Lord of the Rings on Amazon 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 series about?
The as-yet-untitled The Lord of the Rings series 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.
While season one finished filming in New Zealand earlier this month, Amazon has revealed very little else about the plot or characters included in the show.
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.
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The first episode will air September 2, 2022, just over a year from now.
We can probably expect a weekly episode rollout, in keeping with other Amazon Originals, but Amazon could opt for a different route between now and then.
No word on when future seasons will launch.
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, though Amazon has been stingy about character names. Robert Aramayo plays a young hero named Beldor. Morfydd Clark plays a young Galadriel. And Simon Merrells plays a character named “Trevyn.”
Confirmed actors include the following:
- Robert Aramayo
- Owain Arthur
- Nazanin Boniadi
- Morfydd Clark
- Ismael Cruz Córdova
- Ema Horvath
- Markella Kavenagh
- Joseph Mawle
- Tyroe Muhafidin
- Sophia Nomvete
- Megan Richards
- Dylan Smith
- Charlie Vickers
- Daniel Weyman
- Cynthia Addai-Robinson
- Maxim Baldry
- Ian Blackburn
- Kip Chapman
- Anthony Crum
- Maxine Cunliffe
- Trystan Gravelle
- Lenny Henry
- Thusitha Jayasundera
- Fabian McCallum
- Simon Merrells
- Geoff Morrell
- Peter Mullan
- Lloyd Owen
- Augustus Prew
- Peter Tait
- Alex Tarrant
- Leon Wadham
- Benjamin Walker
- Sara Zwangobani
- Charles Edwards
- Will Fletcher
- Amelie Child-Villiers
- Beau Cassidy
Will there be more seasons?
The current plan is for five seasons of The 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?
It looks like The Lord of the Rings series will be a prequel to Tolkien’s novels rather than Peter Jackson’s films.
This makes some sense as Jackson doesn’t seem to be 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 series 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 series on Amazon.