It’s been nearly 7 years since we’ve seen J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth in live-action. 17 years if you discount those awful “Hobbit” films. For a while, a lot of us were hungry to see more of Tolkien’s breathtaking works. As time passed though, history became legend. Legend became myth and for nearly half a decade the cultural impact of “The Lord of the Rings” had left our collective imagination.
Then, it ensnared a new bearer…Amazon. That’s right, in 2017, the multi-billion dollar industry titan bought the rights to Tolkien’s work for a whopping $250 million! Amazon Studios was commissioned by Jeff Bezos himself to create a fantasy series on par with that of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”.
Yes, you heard it right, folks. You are indeed getting a “Lord of the Rings” series and based on reports, it’s set to be nothing short of spectacular. That being said, a lot of this new series is very much shrouded in mystery. So join us as we run down everything you need to know about Amazon’s upcoming fantasy series.
The Plot and Setting
If you’re expecting Amazon’s new take on the property to be a beat-for-beat recreation of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” or Jackson’s trilogy, then you’d be dead wrong. In spite of its title, the series will not be based on the novel. Rather, the series will draw heavily from Tolkien’s other works, which includes the epic lore of “The Silmarilion”. According to an official synopsis released by Amazon, the series is set thousands of years before the events of the films, which is in the Third Age.
Amazon’s show will be set in the Second Age of Middle Earth. It goes on to mention that the series will follow the rise and fall of kingdoms and the adventures of unfamiliar heroes. Most importantly, it’ll follow the story of the titular Lord of the Rings himself, Sauron. Some of the locations confirmed within the series are the elven capital of Lindon, the island of Numenor and the depths of the Misty Mountains. This is all great but unless you’re a Tolkien super-fan, you’re probably wondering how all this is connected to Sauron and the One Ring. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
The key thing to remember is that all of this is linked to one particular character: Sauron. Believe it or not, Sauron wasn’t always the main baddie on the block. In fact, he was merely an apprentice to the First Dark Lord, Morgoth. After Morgoth was defeated at the end of the First Age, he was killed and his spirit banished from existence. Sauron, not being nearly as powerful as Morgoth at the time, had to find a way to seize power for himself. And so, he disguised himself as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts.
Through deceit and lies, Annatar would befriend the elves. Together with them, he would forge Rings of Power and gift them to the many races. Secretly though, he would use his One Ring to control the minds of the other ring-bearers. When his treachery was uncovered, the elves fought a bloody war against Sauron. Eventually, he was defeated and captured by the men of Numenor, who aided the elves in their war. A race of noble kings and warriors whom Aragon would descend from.
Sauron, up to his old tricks again, feigned repentance and served the kingdom. In Numenor, he would rise to power and in time even control their king, Al-Pharazon. He convinced them to worship Morgoth and when the Valar, a race of immortal gods, learned of Numenor’s treachery, they destroyed the island. So corrupt and evil was the race of Man that the Valar even recreated the world of Arda, making it into a sphere so mankind could never reach them in the Undying Lands. The Second Age ends with the War of the Last Alliance and Sauron’s defeat as seen in the beginning of the “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
Right and that about sums up all the major events that occurred during the Second Age. As to how they come about is where Amazon has some for creative liberty. Barring perhaps a few key characters, Amazon Studio is free to create a world of new heroes and characters as they see fit. Which brings us now to the cast list.
For the most part, the cast ensemble are relative unknowns much like the actors in the “Game of Thrones”. Frankly, we’re glad Amazon isn’t attaching any big names to this series. It allows for more obscure talent to shine. However, there are a few notable actors in the cast.
Dylan Smith who played Jasper in “Maze Runner: The Death Cure”, Cynthia Addai-Robinson who played Amanda Waller in CW’s “Arrow”, Robert Aramayo who played a young Ned Stark and Joseph Mawle who played Benjen Stark in “Game of Thrones” will be joining the team. Welsh actress Taps Morfydd Clark is confirmed to play a young Galadriel in the series. Information as to what roles the other cast members will be playing are yet to be released.
Amazon has committed to Tolkien Estate to produce multiple seasons of the show and has already green-lit the first two seasons of “The Lord of the Rings”. Both seasons are set to be shot back-to-back, just like the films. The first season of the show is set to have 8 episodes with the duration for each yet to be confirmed. The show’s filming and production is once again being shot in New Zealand. Unfortunately, director Peter Jackson will not be involved in the series. The cost of production all comes up to an insane $1 billion! Making Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings” the most expensive TV show thus far. If you thought “Game of Thrones” had amazing effects then you better hold on to your wizard hats. Amazon is going all out here.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been some delays to the show’s production. Pre-pandemic, the show was scheduled to be released by late 2021. As of December 2020, though, the series had just finished filming its first two episodes. Luckily the show has managed to resume production on set and with any hope, the series might meet its deadline by Christmas this year. Fingers crossed, we’ll have a Middle Earth Holiday Season!
So tell us, are you excited for Amazon’s billion-dollar “Lord of the Rings” series? Or do you think it won’t hold a candle up to the original films? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below!