This is what happens when you go away for a five day weekend break to sit about in the sunshine drinking, looking at airplanes and hanging out with Tom Cruise. You miss stuff. Stuff like the full teaser trailer for Amazon’s upcoming The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power.
After teasing for days, they finally dropped the full artefact about the same time that I dropped into my chair and cracked my first beer. Here it is:
The Rings Of Power is the most expensive television show ever produced, at US$250 million for the television rights to Lord Of The Rings, followed by a five-season production commitment worth at least US$1 billion. There is a lot riding on this for Amazon. They have been on a streak lately, with Reacher one of the best received new shows of the past season by viewers. Can they maintain it in Middle Earth? Tolkien fans have concerns from what they have seen so far.
There are legal protections to preserves the lore. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are set during the Third Age of Middle-earth, with the First and Second Ages being explored in other Tolkien writings such as The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth.
Amazon bought the television rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but not for the Third Age events which were held by Middle-earth Enterprises. Confused?
The writers had to identify all of the references to the First and Second Ages in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which are primarily in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings but also in certain chapters and songs, and then create a story that bridged those passages.
Tolkien’s estate retained the legal right to veto any changes from his established narrative, including anything that “egregiously” contradicted what Tolkien wrote in other works about the First and Second Ages. This all sounds like far too much trouble for the average production to go through. I would have walked away and bought the rights to Conan or something.
New Zealand has effectively lost The Rings Of Power production, with season 1 being wrapped in the UK after a hasty relocation part-way through production. Season 2 is now largely based out of the UK again after New Zealand’s COVID restrictions made the production untenable if it remained down there.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is scheduled to premiere on the streaming service Prime Video on September 2, 2022, with new episodes released on a weekly basis.