While many viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl LVI to watch the game, others tuned in for the commercial breaks and the plethora of movie and TV trailers — most notably, Amazon Prime’s newest addition to the collection of J. R. R. Tolkien screen adaptations, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” set to premiere Sept. 2, 2022.
What’s the Story?
“The Rings of Power” is a brand-new television series that takes Tolkien fans back to the Middle-earth they know and love. Its scheduled release date is eight years after Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” premiered in 2014. This addition effectively completes Jackson’s second trilogy set in the infamous fantasy world.
The show, set in the Second Age of Middle-earth — thousands of years before the War of the Ring — follows the forging of the rings as described in the prologue of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”
Viewers will get to see how Sauron’s deceptive rings of power were gifted to the races of Elves, Dwarves and Men, and exactly how they brought some kingdoms to riches and some to ruin. Within the given timeframe, the show will feature very few familiar characters for casual lovers of the story. For example, immortal elves such as Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (played by Robert Aramayo) are depicted in their younger days. However, devoted fans can expect to see some favorite characters and locations previously unseen on the screen.
Amazon’s infamous deal with the Tolkien estate back in November of 2017 left “Lord of the Rings” fans in shock — and some in agony. The billion-dollar company was willing to spend $250 million to beat Netflix in the race to secure television rights to the expansive Tolkien library.
The company secured a five-season contract for what some predict to be the most expensive television series of all time. It would later be named “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”
Showrunners Patrick McKay and John D. Payne have been long-time friends, but both men do not have much work attributed to their names outside of briefly writing for “Star Trek Beyond.” The two have a lot to live up to, following Oscar-winning writers such as Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (who is currently working on the new anime film titled “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim,” set to release at some point in 2024).
However, fans can expect some resemblance to the original Peter Jackson trilogy, as “Rings of Power” successfully got former “Lord of the Rings” concept artist John Howe on board for two episodes.
Notable Moments for Long-Time Fans
- The Beauty of Númenor: The thriving city was in ruin during “The Lord of the Rings” series, but here viewers will see the city in all of its glory during the Second Age.
- The Introduction of the Harfoot: The teaser trailer gave viewers just a few moments’ glances at Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (played by Markella Kavenagh). She is a Harfoot, the ancestors to the hairy-footed (har-foot) Hobbits of “The Lord of the Rings.”
- The Life of Gil-galad: The last High King of the Elves (played by Benjamin Walker) is most notable for his involvement in the original fight against the dark forces of Sauron. In this new series, fans will get to see much of his life and reign that took place well before Sauron’s attempted destruction of Middle-earth.
- The Dwarves of Durin: The Dwarves of Middle-earth also suffered a treacherous fate, as laid out in “The Hobbit,” but the Second Age Dwarves were far from any hardships. Viewers will get to see the well-known riches of the house of Durin.
One of the most important aspects of any major franchise is the feelings of its fanbase. In the case of “Rings of Power,” it is safe to say that the reception of the teaser trailer has been … mixed.
Some fans are happy and eager to return to Middle-earth. Whether their love stems from the books or films, the prospect of more Tolkien-related content excites many people worldwide. Well-known organization TheOneRing.net even hosted a live watch party for the one-minute trailer, which concluded with an analysis of the trailer shot by shot. Many YouTubers, podcasters and journalists took to their respective mediums to post their reaction to the teaser trailer’s release. YouTube channel The Reel Rejects even called the trailer “beautiful” in their nine-minute review.
But other fans felt as though the trailer was less than satisfactory and that perhaps the world of Tolkien would be better left the way it is. YouTube channel Nerdrotic said that the trailer was an “epic fail” and a “complete disaster.” The issues with the series stem mainly from naïve problems with its casting and timeline, but it would also appear that many are just upset that they will not get to see Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth once again.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” premieres Sept. 2, with an already established nine-episode season. Until then, fans can expect to see more stills, trailers and interviews before the grand worldwide release.