The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an upcoming American fantasy television series based on the novel The Lord of the Rings and its appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien. Developed by showrunners J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay for the streaming service Prime Video, the series is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It is produced by Amazon Studios with the Tolkien Estate, the Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.
Amazon bought the television rights for The Lord of the Rings for US$250 million in November 2017, making a five-season production commitment worth at least US$1 billion. This would make it the most expensive television series ever made. Payne and McKay were hired in July 2018. The series is primarily based on the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, which include discussion of the Second Age, and per the requirements of Amazon’s deal with the Tolkien Estate it is not a continuation of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies. Despite this, the production intended to evoke the films using similar production design, younger versions of characters from the films, and theme music composed by Howard Shore, who composed the scores for both trilogies. Bear McCreary composed the rest of the series’ score. A large international cast was hired, and filming for the first season took place in New Zealand, where the films were produced, from February 2020 to August 2021. There was a production break of several months during that time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon moved production for future seasons to the United Kingdom. Filming for the second season is expected to begin in October 2022.
The eight-episode first season is scheduled to premiere on Prime Video on September 1, 2022. It has received generally positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for its visuals and musical score and some criticism for its pacing.Premise
Set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the series is based on author J. R. R. Tolkien’s history of Middle-earth. It begins during a time of relative peace and covers all the major events of Middle-earth’s Second Age: the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the fall of the island kingdom of Númenor, and the last alliance between Elves and Men. These events take place over thousands of years in Tolkien’s original stories but are condensed for the series.Cast and characters
- Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Míriel: the queen regent of Númenor, an island kingdom ruled by Men descended from Elrond’s half-Elven brother Elros
- Robert Aramayo as Elrond: a half-Elven architect and politician. Aramayo was interested in exploring the pressure that Elrond faces living up to the legacy of his father, Eärendil, as well as the fact that Elrond chose to be immortal unlike his brother Elros, whom Elrond had to watch grow old and die. Elrond goes from being optimistic and eager to world-weary and closed-off throughout the series.
- Owain Arthur as Durin IV: prince of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm. It took three hours to apply Arthur’s Dwarven prosthetics each day.
- Maxim Baldry as Isildur: a Númenórean sailor who will eventually become a warrior and king. The writers wanted to explore Isildur’s story more than the source material so the audience would feel that it ends in tragedy rather than foolishness. Co-showrunner Patrick McKay compared the character to Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone from The Godfather (1972).
- Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn: a human mother and healer who owns an apothecary in the Southlands
- Morfydd Clark as Galadriel: an Elven warrior who believes evil is returning to Middle-earth. Tolkien had described Galadriel in her youth as being a strong fighter of “Amazon disposition” and the series shows her journey from that point to becoming the “elder stateswoman” that the character is more commonly known as. Clark said her fluency in Welsh made it easier to learn Galadriel’s Elvish lines.
- Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir: a Silvan Elf with a forbidden love for the human healer Bronwyn, similar to Tolkien’s love stories about Beren and Lúthien and Aragorn and Arwen
- Charles Edwards as Celebrimbor: the Elven smith who forges the Rings of Power, he is a “brilliant artisan” known throughout Middle-earth who is friends with the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm.
- Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn: a Númenórean advisor to queen regent Míriel
- Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows: a Harfoot elder. Henry described the Harfoots as “the traditional Tolkien little guy… the little people in this world provide comedy but also get to be incredibly brave”.
- Ema Horvath as Eärien: Isildur’s sister, who was created for the series. Horvath and Baldry bonded in New Zealand by bungee jumping and zip-lining together.
- Markella Kavenagh as Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot: a Harfoot with a “yearning for adventure”.
- Simon Merrells as Trevyn[better source needed]
- Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo: Bronwyn’s son
- Peter Mullan as Durin III: king of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm
- Sophia Nomvete as Disa: princess of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm. Disa and the other female Dwarves have facial hair, but they don’t have large beards like the male Dwarves in the series.
- Lloyd Owen as Elendil: a Númenórean sailor and Isildur’s father who will eventually be a leader in the last alliance between Elves and Men
- Megan Richards as Poppy Proudfellow: a curious Harfoot
- Dylan Smith as Largo Brandyfoot: Nori’s father
- Charlie Vickers as Halbrand: a human running from his past whose destiny is entwined with Galadriel’s
- Leon Wadham as Kemen: Pharazôn’s son
- Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad: the High King of the Elves who rules from the realm of Lindon. The character is mentioned in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in a poem called “The Fall of Gil-galad”, and Walker said the series would expand on that. He highlighted the character’s “odd gift of foresight. He’s prescient, and he’s ahead of the curve. He can kind of feel the pulse of evil rising.”
- Daniel Weyman as an unnamed stranger who falls from the sky in a flaming meteor
- Sara Zwangobani as Marigold Brandyfoot: Nori’s mother
The following actors have been cast in undisclosed roles:Episodes
Wayne Che Yip directed four episodes of the season, and Charlotte Brändström directed two.ProductionDevelopmentBackground and announcement
In July 2017, a lawsuit was settled between Warner Bros., the studio behind the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies, and the estate of author J. R. R. Tolkien upon whose books those films were based. With the two sides “on better terms”, they began offering the rights to a potential television series based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to several outlets, including Amazon, Netflix, and HBO, with a starting price of US$200 million. Amazon emerged as the frontrunner by September and entered negotiations. Uncommonly for programming developments at the studio, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was personally involved with the negotiations. A fan of the franchise, Bezos had previously given Amazon Studios a mandate to develop an ambitious fantasy series of comparable scale to HBO’s Game of Thrones which made Amazon the lead contender for the project.