Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel TV series will be set during Middle Earth's Second Age.
Amazon’s mysterious – purportedly billion-dollar-budgeted – Lord of the Rings TV series will take place before the events of Peter Jackson’s movies. Setting the tone for the prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first two episodes will be directed by J.A. Bayona, who helmed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as the latest news reveals.
The Lord of the Rings TV series will take place during Middle Earth’s Second Age – that’s thousands of years before Bilbo Baggins, Golem or Aragorn ever existed! Moreover, the end of said age was a full millennium before the Wizards (Gandalf, Saruman, et al.) even arrived in Middle Earth, which makes the series a prequel in an epochal sense.
Amazon hopes the new Lord of the Rings TV show will be the next Game of Thrones. While details about the series are still sparse, its context is overwhelming. We do know it will be shot in New Zealand and Scotland. Amazon set an estimated start date for next month. We are diving deep in this post with everything you need to know about the project!
Lord of the Rings Amazon Cast
Will Poulter (Midsommar, The Revenant) has joined the cast for an unspecified lead role. You can read more about his casting right here.
Markella Kavenagh (The Cry, Picnic at Hanging Rock) is the first cast member revealed for the series. While details are still scarce, she is reportedly set to play a character named Tyra. You can read more about her casting right here.
Lord of the Rings Amazon Team
Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Orphanage, The Impossible) will direct the first two episodes, according to Deadline. He will also serve as an executive producer, alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza. “J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team,” Bayona said in a statement. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story.”
Game of Thrones is coming to Middle Earth! – Well, a winter-tested writer with Westeros work on his CV is coming, anyway, since the show’s watch is ended.
Bryan Cogman recently joined the writing team as a consultant, reported Variety. After starting an assistant to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Cogman has since worn many hats on HBO’s Game of Thrones going back to the show’s first season, having written 11 episodes total – the most recent of which was Season 8’s pre-battle character study, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” – and served as a producer on several episodes, ascending to co-executive producer for the last two seasons. He’s also attached to the screenplay for Disney’s live-action adaptation of its 1963 Arthurian animated classic, The Sword in the Stone.
The Lord of the Rings gig will see newcomers Bayona and Cogman join JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who were brought onboard the project back in July 2018, well before Amazon divulged any official details on the series.
Here’s the officially released list of the show’s creative team:
Executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire) and Sharon Tal Yguado; writer/executive producer Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad); writer/executive producer Jason Cahill (The Sopranos) writer/executive producer Justin Doble (Stranger Things); consulting producers Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) and Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4); producer Ron Ames (The Aviator); writer/co-producer Helen Shang (Hannibal), and writing consultant Glenise Mullins.
Lord of the Rings Amazon Story
Amazon’s official series-era map not only confirmed the show’s time period, stating, “Welcome to the Second Age,” but bore another bountiful clue: the five-pointed-star-shaped southwest island kingdom of Númenor. An ancient kingdom of Men with long lifespans, Númenor flourished throughout much of the Second Age until the initial incursions of Sauron, which eventually led to the kingdom’s legendary fall and Elendil’s arrival on the mainland, where he eventually founded the kingdom of Gondor.
Welcome to the Second Age: https://t.co/Tamd0oRgTw
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) March 7, 2019
Given Amazon’s tweeted teases, which recalls tropes connected to the Ring of Power, one might further deduce that the Lord of the Rings series will specifically chronicle the epoch’s mythology-setting events. Pertinently, the sporadically posted lines in the teasers recall the Second Age story in which Sauron deceived the kingdoms of Elves, Men and Dwarves with rings of power that he secretly controlled with the One Ring; a story famously told in The Fellowship of the Ring film prologue by Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel. We could also take this to mean that the Lord of the Rings TV show might showcase the formation of Gondor and the era in which Sauron’s insidious plot first came to a head; events that were briefly chronicled in Tolkien’s posthumously-published quasi-Biblical Middle Earth chronicle, The Silmarillion, specifically in the section titled “Akallabêth.”
Amazon Prime Video recently started teasing its small screen return to the beauteous-but-brutal land of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth mythology with an official Twitter account, which provocatively started posting maps, including downloadable versions hosted on the main Amazon site. Having started by posting a label-less version of the Middle Earth map, Amazon would incrementally reveal things by updating the map with land labels, which provided valuable clues about the show’s time setting. The first major revelation came in February with the release of a map containing a name that’s archaic to the familiar era of the Third Age – in which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings novels and Peter Jackson-directed films take place.
The name on the map in question was “Calenardhon,” which was the ancient original name of the pastoral plains of the region that we know as the kingdom of Rohan (founded in 2510 in the Third Age), which we saw on magnificent display in the Rings Trilogy’s 2002 middle act, The Two Towers. Additionally, the familiar sight to Rohan’s south, the great kingdom of Gondor, was nowhere to be seen on the map. This was a crucial clue, since Gondor (along with Northern Kingdom Arnor,) was founded by King Elendil and his sons during the Second Age of Middle Earth in 3320, setting up a climactic confrontation in 3441 between “The Last Alliance of Elves and Men” against Sauron and his evil army from Mordor – again, as depicted in the Fellowship prologue.
Consequently, with the Lord of the Rings series now confirmed to take place in the Second Age, speculation can begin on how it might fill in the gaps of the first war over the One Ring, potentially showcasing movie prologue characters like King Elendil, his son and eventual One Ring-owner, Isildur, as well as the powerful high-born Elven king, Gil-galad. Moreover, it appears that we might finally get to see Sauron himself as an actual character, rather than a giant irritated flaming eye!
We will keep you updated on the major developments of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series as the news arrives!