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First Look at Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power' Series

After years in production with the highest budget of any series yet, fans finally get an inside look.

Amazon Prime has been quite secretive regarding their upcoming series, the Rings of Power. As a stand-along to Peter Jackson's magnum opus movie trilogy, the Lord of the Rings, fans everywhere have been anxiously awaiting information about the newest project. Kept under wraps for years of production, with the show set to release in September of this year, audiences are finally getting an inside look.


After the release of the Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers novels in 1954, readers became obsessed with the world Tolkien had built. In response, Tolkien compiled a collection of lore that outlined location history, family lines, and detailed maps called the Appendices. Tolkien's estate put the Appendices up for auction in 2017 for $200 million, which Amazon was more than capable of providing. While that amount would debilitate any other studio, Bezos' wealth and love for the series made it possible.

The Appendices outline the Second Age in Middle Earth history. Frodo and Sam's quest to destroy the ring is considered the Third Age, with the Second Age takes place in the thousands of years in before, while the world was seemingly at peace. Rings of Power will reportedly follow the forging of the rings, and the rise of Big Bad, Sauron.

Because of how loose the story is, Amazon's series has gone forward with a great amount of creative freedom. Showrunners Patrick McKay and JD Payne say that the series will follow over twenty main characters, some old and some new. Galadriel and Elrond are key players, with many new introductions, including characters of color (who were largely absent from the books and movie trilogy). McKay revealed initially of the plot,

“The forging of the rings. Rings for the elves, rings for dwarves, rings for men, and then the one ring Sauron used to deceive them all. It’s the story of the creation of all those powers, where they came from, and what they did to each of those races. Can we come up with the novel Tolkien never wrote and do it as the mega-event series that could only happen now?”

Both showrunners are agonizingly aware of the pressure that comes with making this series. Payne shares,

“We felt like hobbits. We felt like two very small people in a very big world who had just been entrusted with something that meant so much to so many different people. Patrick and I will often look at each other in challenging moments of the show and say, ‘I’m glad you’re with me, Sam.’"

But they want to assure audiences that they have Tolkien's source material close to heart. They do not wish to make another Game of Thrones, rife with politics and sex. Instead, McKay states their vision as,

"The goal was to make a show for everyone, for kids who are 11, 12, and 13, even though sometimes they might have to pull the blanket up over their eyes if it’s a little too scary. We talked about the tone in Tolkien’s books. This is material that is sometimes scary—and sometimes very intense, sometimes quite political, sometimes quite sophisticated—but it’s also heartwarming and life-affirming and optimistic. It’s about friendship and it’s about brotherhood and underdogs overcoming great darkness.”

Rings of Power releases on Amazon Prime September 2.

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