Written by: Noa Persiani – Publication date:
“We thought the war was over, that our joys would be eternal. We thought our light would never fade. But Evil doesn’t sleep, wait …”
There is no peace for fantasy fans, but in a good way. One of the most anticipated projects, of global interest and epic investment, is about to arrive. The legendary story of The Lord of the Rings returns, but this time on the small screen, with the Amazon TV series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Plot and cast
Set thousands of years before the adventures narrated in the film sagas of The Hobbit And The Lord of the Ringsthis epic drama shows, for the first time on screens, the heroic legends of Second Era of Middle-earth history. Viewers will be immersed in a distant era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms ascended to glory and fell into ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, and one of the greatest villains threatened to plunge the whole world into darkness. Starting from a moment of relative peace, the TV series follows a group of characters, some already known, others new, as they prepare to face the feared return of evil to Middle-earth.
From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elven capital of Lindon, to the incredible island kingdom of Númenor and the furthest reaches of the map of this fantastic universe. In these places, the characters will build a legacy that will survive well beyond their time.
The official synopsis reads:
“Starting with a period of relative peace, we follow a group of characters as they face the return of evil to Middle-earth.”
The characters and the cast consist of:
- Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) – Elven Princess
- Durin IV (Owain Arthur) – Prince of the dwarves
- Elrond (Robert Aramayo) – Half-elf, lord of Rivendell
- Isildur (Maxim Baldry) – Dunedain of Númenor
- Celembrimbor (Charles Edwards) – Elf Noldo
- Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) – Elven ruler of Nùmenor
- Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniardi) – Human mother and healer
- Arondir (Ismael Cruz Còrdova) – Wood Elf
- Pharazon (Trystan Gravelle) – Advisor to Queen Miriel
- Sadoc Burrows (Lenny Henry) – Elder pelòdope
- Earien (Ema Horvath) – Isildur’s sister
- Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) – Pelopedes
- Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) – Son of Bronwyn
- Durin III (Peter Mullan) – King of Khazad-dum
- Disa (Sophia Nomvete) – Princess daughter of Durin
- Elendil (Lloyd Owen) – Sailor of Nùmenor
- Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards) – Pelopedes
- Wide Brandyfoot (Dylan Smith) – Nori’s father
- Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) – Human on the run from his past
- Kemen (Leon Wadham) – Son of Pharazon
- Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) – Supreme King of the Elves
- The stranger (Daniel Weyman) – Stranger with no name
- Marigold Brandyfoot (Sara Zwangobani) – Nori’s mother
Production, development, curiosity and anticipations
Led by showrunners and executive producers JD Payne (Star Trek Beyond) And Patrick McKay (Goliath), the TV series is filmed by the Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) and visually supported by the Barcelona director of photography Oscar Faura (The Imitation Game).
Even those who do not know in depth all the stories of Middle-earth know that it was also at the center of the first films the One Ring, the most powerful magical object with which Sauron wanted to control the will of humans, elves and dwarves by unleashing all his evil force. That ring, however, was actually the last of a series of other jewels, very central in the history of Arda. During the Second Era, six thousand years before the events recounted in the films, Sauron, having taken the guise of Annatar, a wise and good-looking creature, had convinced Celebrimbor, the elf known as the greatest blacksmith in the Eregion region, to to forge nineteen rings that could enhance the power and beauty of the wearer. The intention was to distribute them among the various inhabitants of Middle-earth (three to the elves, seven to the dwarves and nine to the kings of men) and then subjugate them with the One Ringwhich he had forged secretly and in solitude in Mordor and which would have been at the center of the events also seen at the cinema in the trilogy The Lord of the Rings from Peter Jackson.
In July 2017, a lawsuit was settled between Warner Bros., the studio behind the film trilogies The Lord of the Rings And The Hobbitand the author’s legacy JRR Tolkien on whose books those films were based. The two sides began offering the rights to a potential TV series to various platforms, including Amazon, Netflix and HBO, with an initial price of $ 200 million. Amazon emerged as the leader and started negotiations. The Seattle company had to give the formal green light to future seasons before construction could begin. Warner Bros. Television was no longer involved in the production, as Amazon Studios wanted to be independent. Finally, Tolkien Estate has imposed some creative restrictions on the TV series, such as agreeing to start production within two years.
The events of the Second Era are officially narrated within the book Silmarillion. It was therefore expected that after many years of refusing Tolkien Estate, he would eventually give in to selling the rights to one of the most valuable works of the British writer. Tolkien. But no: the showrunners explained that Amazon Prime Video, in reality, did not have access to the ability to reproduce the fantasy novel. So the show will be based on the Appendices of the book where the events of the Second Age are summarized. The cost was two hundred and fifty million dollars.
Obviously this leads to the content of several original storylines, invented by the authors and not present in the Tolkien imaginary. For example, the wood elf Arondir (Córdova) and the love story with the human Bronwyn (Boniadi). Apparently the authors wanted to try to create the novel that Tolkien he never wrote and conceive it as a monumental series that could only be broadcast today.
The Rings of Power has a impressive budgetwhich in total amounts to about four hundred and sixty million dollars for the eight episodes which will make up the first season. An exorbitant figure, which covers the costs of production and post production and which promises a work in great style. With this budget, the TV series breaks the record by becoming the most expensive ever, surpassing the records held by The Crown and Game of Thrones.
Another rather controversial point brought to light by the first news is the presence of hobbits, or at least of their ancestors: the so-called pelopiedi. In theory, these characters shouldn’t appear before the advent of the Third Age. The authors, on the other hand, wanted to involve them in the TV series, stating that there can be no Middle-earth without a hobbit.
A continuity with respect to the Peter Jackson film trilogy is in the choice of locations: the wonderful New Zealand, which returns to be Middle-earth with all its beauty.
Another link with the trilogy is the special effects sector: Weta Digital, the New Zealand company of Jackson which brought the movies to life and helped create some of the most viewed cinematic works in the history of the silver screen. A winning choice, as the first released images of the orcsentirely made with prosthetic make-up. Jamie Wilson returns as head of the makeup department.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
One of the harshest criticisms of the fans was the one about the changes in the aesthetics of the charactersgiven the inclusion of a very inclusive and multicultural cast, to which Tolkien he does not refer to it in his writings. The actor Ismael Cruz Córdova she is the first black person to play an elf, while the British actress of Iranian descent Sophia Nomvete she got the role of the dwarf princess Disa. The executive producer Lindsey Weber he explained:
“It just seemed natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect the real aspect of the world. Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about imaginary races that come in handy when they leave the isolation of their cultures and unite.”
Finally, one of the best news for fans is the choice of entrust Howard Shore with the soundtrack. The Oscar-winning composer and conductor signed the iconic soundtracks de The Lord of the Rings And The Hobbit.
Release date and trailer
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will debut the first two episodes on September 2 on the Prime Video platformwhile the other six episodes will be released weekly.
The Season 1 finale will be released on October 14th.
Below is the official trailer of the unreleased series.