Amazon’s Lord of the Rings

The media giant's forthcoming Lord of the Rings takes the story back a couple of thousand years to the Age of Númenor. Peter Gray reports.

If you’ve ever wondered what a billion pounds could buy you these days – then you’d better tune into Amazon’s Lord of the Rings, for that’s what the shopping giant are paying for the series.

The figure is spread over five seasons, mind, so it’s not quite as bonkers as it first seems. If rumours are to be believed, however, the first series is costing a cool £426 million pounds. Ouch!

The drama takes us back to Middle Earth for more tales from J.R.R Tolkien’s fantastically imaginative universe. Not just a simple retelling of the phenomenally successful films, the series will apparently focus on an earlier period in the region’s history.

If you can’t wait to see it – here’s everything you need to know about Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings:

Lord of the Rings plot

Produced in collaboration with the Tolkien estate, this live-action TV series will explore the Silmarillion era or Second Age of Middle Earth.

Also known as the Age of Númenor, the events depicted here took place centuries before the events depicted in the three blockbuster movies. Which means that we probably won’t see any of the characters from the series in it, as they simply weren’t around during this time.

Amazon have helpfully released an official synopsis for the series which describes the Silmarillion era as one where: “great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness”

The series will apparently depict the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth with an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new. “From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone” The synopsis concludes.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings cast

Game of Thrones’ Robert Aramayo will play the lead character Beldor after Will Poulter had to withdraw from the role due to a scheduling conflict.

Poulter still had kind words for the show however, telling the NME that he had “utmost respect for everyone involved in that project,” and “no doubt it’s going to be incredible.”

Joining Aramayo in the cast are young actress Morfydd Clark, who will portray a young Galadriel in the series, Clark, who is mostly known for the Saint Maud, has apparently signed up for all five seasons of the new show.

Other actors rumoured to be involved in the series include Good Omens’ Simon Merrells, Trevyn, The Cry’s Markella Kavenagh Monarch of the Glen’s Lloyd Owen.

Intriguingly, comedy legend Sir Lenny Henry has also been cast in the series, although there is no word at this time on what role the actor will be playing.

Even more intriguing is a recent Lord Of The Rings casting call which specifically asked for actors who were comfortable with nudity. What this will mean in practice is anyone’s guess.

Will any of the cast of the original Lord of The Rings movies pop up in the new series?

Good question. No one is certain right now however Gandalf himself (actor Ian McKellen) has apparently expressed an interest in reprising his role in the new Amazon series

Lord of the Rings filming

After much deliberation Amazon Studios have elected to film the series in New Zealand, following in the footsteps of Peter Jackson’s award-winning trilogy.

“As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff.

“And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings” said executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay about the decision to film in New Zealand.

 “We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

And what’s this we’re hearing about nudity?

Yes, the rumours are true. Amazon have hired an ‘intimacy coordinator’ and also sent out a call for actors who are “comfortable with nudity” according to fansite

The intimacy coordinator will apparently help make the actors feel comfortable and safe while filming sex scenes, while the casting call seems to confirm that the show is heading in a Game of Thrones direction with regards to sex scenes.

How this will sit with the Tolkien fans has not been discussed.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings – the production team

Amazon have certainly spared no expense in putting together a production team for the series. Jurassic World’s JA Bayona is set to direct the first two episodes of the series, with Dr Who’s Wayne Che Yip directing another four episodes of the show.

The series will be executive produced by 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Lindsey Weber, Game of Throne’s Bruce Richmond and Broadwalk Empire’s Gene Kelly and Amazon’s Sharon Tal Yguado.

The sci-fi/fantasy link continues with while Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman will act as Senior Consultant and Star Trek 4 writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay working as showrunners.

And what of Peter Jackson?

Sadly, Jackson has said that he will have no involvement in the new series.

When is Lord of the Rings released on Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon have not announced release details for the series yet although the drama is expected to be released in 2021.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings – the trailer

Not yet, but in lieu of such a release, Amazon have been teasing the show on social media with a series of maps of Middle Earth. The maps began to appear online in February 2019 accompanied by a series of messages.

The full text is:

I wisely started with a map

Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for mortal men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne;

In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,

One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them;

In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

What does it all mean?

Buggered if I know!

When can we see Amazon’s Lord of the Rings on the small screen?

Not yet but watch this space.

More information about Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings can be found here.

For more forthcoming television, please click here.

-London's Best Events-
What: new drama series
When: tbc
Where: Amazon Prime
Website: Wikipedia