The “Lord of the Rings” franchise has spurred decades of content, and the Prime Video prequel series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” promises at least another five years of Middle-earth tales.
Premiering September 2, “The Rings of Power” incorporates stories of Elves, Dwarves, Harfoots, and more Middle-earth clans as the famed rings are forged and Sauron’s empire is founded. The series is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, with Amazon purchasing the rights to a “50-hour show,” according to co-showrunner JD Payne.
“They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas…this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle and end,” Payne told Empire magazine. “There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until Season 5. We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be.”
Payne added that the series follows author Tolkien’s wish to “leave behind a mythology that ‘left scope for other minds and hands, wielding the tools of paint, music, and drama,'” as per one of Tolkien’s letters to his publisher.
“It was like Tolkien put some stars in the sky and let us make out the constellations,” Payne said, citing that “The Rings of Power” adapted appendices from Tolkien’s work and expanded upon the footnotes. “We’re doing what Tolkien wanted. As long as we felt like every invention of ours was true to his essence, we knew we were on the right track.”
Fellow showrunner Patrick McKay called “The Rings of Power” the product of being “stewards” to the source material.
“The pressure would drive us insane if we didn’t feel like there was a story here that didn’t come from us. It comes from a bigger place,” McKay said. “We trust those ideas so deeply, because they’re not ours. We’re custodians, at best.”
Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” captures the start of the Second Age and follows the forging of the titular rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The series stars Charles Edwards, Will Fletcher, Amelie Child-Villiers, and newcomer Beau Cassidy among the ensemble cast.
“The Rings of Power” also debuts against original IP “Game of Thrones” prequel, “House of the Dragon,” out August 21 on HBO. “Game of Thrones” creator George R.R. Martin called “The Rings of Power” adaptation “kind of a weird deal” due to the type of Tolkien property licensed.
“There’s a lot of myth about that, so it’ll be interesting to see what they did,” Martin weighed in during the recent Santa Fe Literary Festival, before adding, “I hope both shows succeed. I’m competitive enough. I hope we succeed more. If they win six Emmys — and I hope they do — I hope we win seven. But nonetheless, it’s good for fantasy.”
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” premieres September 2 on Prime Video.