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 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. Now, 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 that came 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 departure of the Elves 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:
Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Series Cast
Many fantasy series attempt 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. Cynthia Addai-Robinson, for example, who headlines the cast, is best know as Amanda Waller in Arrow. Fans might also recognize Robert Aramayo 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.
But the rest of the cast will be new faces. They include Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Series Plot
The most important thing fans should know about the new series is that it isn’t actually titled Lord of the Rings. That’s merely a placeholder for the yet-to-be-titled series, albeit one that fans will instantly recognize. When the series gets an actual title, fans will have a better idea of what the series might entail.
That said, the official logline for the series is as follows:
Beginning in a time of relative peace, thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.
If that sounds like a broad range to cover, remember, the Second Age runs about 3,441 years. (That’s a smidge longer than the Third Age, which ran 3,021.) And the new series has a lot of room to cover it. The first season is a reported 20 episodes long.
As for those who might like to read up on the Second Age before the series arrives in 2022, much of it can be found 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’s also some to be found in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings novels, specifically Appendix B.
Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Series Trailer
There is no teaser or trailer as of yet for the series, but with filming officially wrapped as of Aug. 2, 2021, fans can hope to see the first footage from the new series soon.
Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Series Release Date
Amazon Studios’ as-yet-untitled Lord of the Rings series will premiere Friday, September 2, 2022, on Prime Video. Season 2 of the series is already greenlit.