Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series will finally make it to screens next year – 19 years after Peter Jackson’s original trilogy wrapped and eight years after his Hobbit series finished up.
Based on JRR Tolkien’s extended mythology, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series is shrouded in mystery, but here’s what we do know…
What’s Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings About?
The series is set thousands of years before Frodo and the Fellowship’s quest to destroy the One Ring and the reign of Sauron in Jackson’s trilogy. The era is known as the Second Age of Middle-earth.
It is reportedly set to draw heavily from The Silmarillion – the Middle-earth Bible published after Tolkien’s death that spans the entire history of the land he created. It will also take inspiration from Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.
TheOneRing.Net exclusively shared a synopsis, which Amazon confirmed to be true.
“Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history,” it reads. “This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and 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.
“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 re-emergence 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 furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.”
How Many Seasons Will It Run For?
TheOneRing.Net reports the show plans to run for a minimum of five seasons with eight to 10 episodes per season.
When Will Amazon Release the Lord of the Rings Series?
Amazon has confirmed the show will debut on the streaming service on September 2, 2022.
“The journey begins September 2, 2022 with the premiere of our original The Lord of the Rings series on Prime Video,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, in a statement according to Variety.
“I can’t express enough just how excited we all are to take our global audience on a new and epic journey through Middle-earth! Our talented producers, cast, creative, and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”
Who is in the Series?
Maxim Baldry stars as the unnamed lead role, Aussie actress Markella Kavenagh will play Tyra, an entirely new character.
Morfydd Clark will star as a younger version of the royal Elf Galadriel, a role made famous by our very own Cate Blanchett in the original trilogy.
Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur and Nazanin Boniadi are other actors in lead roles. Supporting stars include Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith and Charlie Vickers.
Speaking of their cast, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said, “These exceptionally talented women and men are more than just our actors: they are the newest members of an ever-expanding creative family that is now working tirelessly to bring Middle-earth to life anew for fans and audiences worldwide.”
After Graham Norton asked if it would be strange to see another pointy-hatted wizard around, Ian McKellen expressed interest in returning as Gandalf.
“What do you mean, another Gandalf? McKellen said on Norton’s BBC radio show. “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7000 years old, so I’m not too old.”
Is Peter Jackson Working On It?
Peter Jackson confirmed he’s not involved with the new Amazon series, telling French publication Allocine, “I’m not involved at all in the Lord of the Rings series…I understand how my name could come up, but there is nothing happening with me on this project.”
Showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay shared a statement when they began working on the series, writing, “The rich world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is filled with majesty and heart, wisdom and complexity.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”
Do I Need To Watch The Other Films To Understand It?
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series is separate from the film universe. And, given that there aren’t many shared characters and a new creative team, the series is seemingly standalone.
This doesn’t mean it won’t be part of the same continuity down the line, but the connections to the films seem minimal – probably to allow for as much creative freedom as possible.
However, if you’re keen to get some background without reading, watching the movies could be useful. Plus, with so many of us in lockdown right now, why not?
Should I Watch The Hobbit Too?
Sure, why not? But again, you probably don’t have to!
Where Can I Watch the Movies?
Do I Need To Read The Books?
Now, this is where you might want to invest some time! The Appendices of the LOTR books is what Amazon is basing their story on. But if you’re just reading it for the sake of reading it and you’re not super passionate about the franchise, don’t bother.
The Silmarillion will be the most important book to read out of any of the Lord of the Rings books if you want to prepare for this series. This is because The Silmarillion tells the stories that are just summarised in the LOTR Appendices.
If you’re keen to read The Hobbit, you can do that too, but you don’t have to.
If you were to read them in chronological order, it would be: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth is another good standalone to read, but don’t worry too much about it if you have already read The Silmarillion.
The History of Middle-earth is a 12-part book series that examines and explores the manuscripts and drafts of Tolkien’s Middle-earth work, so you could read that too. Though let’s be honest, that’s a lot of homework for not a whole lot in return! Unless, of course, you’re a super fan, then who am I to stop you?