If there was a moment that kicked off the fantasy adaptation craze that has produced everything from Game of Thrones to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The fairly faithful feature film adaptation of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal classic took swords and sorcery out of the realm of nerds and into the mainstream in 2001. Fast-forward a couple of decades when big-budget streaming shows became all the rage, a small-screen series based on Tolkien’s works was inevitable, and Amazon Studios stepped up to the plate to make it happen. After a year and a half of filming, Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings series has wrapped production, and fans finally have a first look at the upcoming show.
Amazon’s new series follows the template laid out by the feature films before it. The series was filmed in New Zealand and will almost certainly stick to the same visual style as the movies. But although it shares the same world as the story of the One Ring, Amazon’s show is based on a different part of Tolkien’s lore.
The original trilogy most people know takes place during what is known as “the end of the Third Age,” when the Elves' departure led to the rise of man to rule Middle-earth. Amazon’s series will take several thousand years earlier, in the Second Age. The end of the Second Age, when Sauron and his One Ring were defeated by Isildur taking up his father’s sword, is well documented in the LOTR films. But what came before it — the rise of Númenor, the Rings of Power, and the early wars of the Rings — is not. That’s the stuff that the TV show will cover.
Here’s what else we know about the series:
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Trailer
The final trailer for The Lords of the Rings: The Rings of Power arrived on Aug. 23, 2022. Feast your eyes on all that’s to come.
The first full-length trailer for The Lords of the Rings: The Rings of Power arrived on July 14, 2022. The trailer ranged all over Middle Earth, introducing Elves, Dwarves, Men, and Hobbits. It also showed fans their first looks at the Elven realms of Lindon and Eregion, the Dwarven realm Khazad-dûm, the Southlands, the Northernmost Wastes, the Sundering Seas, and the island kingdom of Númenór.
The trailer also introduced viewers to Isildur for the first time, along with Queen Regent Míriel. It also gave fans their first good looks at Young Galadriel, Young Elrod, and someone who looks suspiciously like a Young Aragorn.
The sneak peek for the first full-length trailer arrived five days before its debut, with a minute-long tease of what’s to come.
The first teaser arrived in the middle of Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, Feb. 13. The one-minute clip was also very vague about the prequel series’ plot. However, it did deliver some stunning atmospheric shots and a few quick glimpses of the new characters, including the first looks at young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and young Elrond (Robert Aramayo).
Other characters fans may not have been able to identify: Prince Durin IV of the dwarf realm Khazad-dûm, Disa (Sophia Nomvete), a dwarven princess, and Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), a wood-elf. No matter what people tell you, no identified Hobbits are directly shown in the teaser, although the hand at the end is most likely an ancestor of those in Hobbiton.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Title
Though it contained very little footage of the new series, the first glimpse of Amazon’s The Lord Of The Rings series, which the streamer released on Jan. 19, did bring forth something that fans eagerly anticipated: the series’ actual title. As the voiceover of Morfydd Clark as Galadriel intones the famous lines about the forging of the famous rings, the title comes into view: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Cast
Fantasy series try to mitigate the familiar faces of TV and movies by casting relative unknowns. Lord of the Rings is no exception. Although some of the actors may be somewhat familiar to fans of fantasy, the majority of them are not. For example, Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Queen Regent Míriel), who headlines the cast, is best known as Amanda Waller in Arrow. Fans might also recognize Robert Aramayo (Young Elrond) as Young Ned Stark and Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark, both from Game of Thrones. And there are a few genuinely famous names, like Sir Lenny Henry (Sadoc Burrows).
But the rest of the cast will be new faces. They include Isildur (Maxim Baldry), Elendil (Lloyd Owen), Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle), Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), Kemen (Leon Wadham), Eärien (Ema Horvath), and “The Stranger” (Daniel Weyman)
There are also hobbits Marigold Brandyfoot (Sara Zwangobani), Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh), and Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards).
Royalty includes High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker), the Dwarves King Durin III (Peter Mullan), and Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur).
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Characters
On Feb. 3, the Lord of the Rings social media team released an entire slew of character posters on Instagram and Twitter. These 23 images did not show faces but rather hands. Some are the hands that will wear the rings of power,* and some are those who will rise against Sauron as his plan to control Middle Earth is unveiled. But without faces, it was nearly impossible to guess who was who, save one: Sauron himself.
*For those who are trying to remember how many rings of power there are and who gets them, here are the relevant quotes. (Don’t pull out your calculator; I did the math, and it’s 19 total.)
- “Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die.”
- “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
A week later, on Feb. 10, Amazon revealed seven characters in this slew of posters and the actors playing them.
Left: Prince Durin IV, played by Owain Arthur. Right: Princess Disa, played by Sophia Nomvete
Left: Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark. Right: Elrond, played by Robert Aramayo
Left: Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. Center: Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi. Right: Halbrand, played by Charlie Vickers.
As far as fans can guess, these are the lead seven characters in this giant ensemble who will be the story's focus.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Plot
With the official title, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, revealed, fans now know for sure what the new series will focus on. It is the story of how the rings came to be and how Sauron conquered Middle Earth. Though the title doesn’t say it, with two seasons greenlit, it will also include how he fell when Isildur picked up his father’s sword.
The official logline for the series is as follows:
Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the farthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
As for those who might like to read up on the Second Age before the series arrives in 2022, readers can find much of it in the posthumously released Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, which were completed and published by Christopher Tolkien after his father’s death. There are also some in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings novels, specifically Appendix B.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Release Date
Amazon Studios’ Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will premiere Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, on Prime Video and run eight episodes. Season 2 of the series is already greenlit.
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