It’s time to go back to Middle-earth. The first television adaptation of The Lord of the Rings is coming to Amazon Prime Video. After a massive $250 million deal in 2017, Amazon Studios acquired the global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s best-selling novels.
Now we’re inching closer and closer to the reveal of The Lord of the Rings series. Filming is currently underway on the first season. The series features a huge and talented ensemble cast, many of whom you likely recognize. This is just the beginning of Amazon’s plans for The Lord of the Rings. HollywoodLife has all the key updates about the highly-anticipated LOTR series.
The Lord of the Rings television series is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The show will bring to the screen the legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. Viewers will be transported back to an era in which “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,” according to Amazon’s description of the show. The series will begin at a “time of relative peace” and follow an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they “confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. 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 show is filming in New Zealand, where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies filmed. The series began filming in early 2020 and was close to finishing the first two episodes when production was shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in New Zealand in Sept. 2020, Deadline reported. The Lord of the Rings series was granted a border exemption by the New Zealand government in July 2020 to film.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona posted an Instagram photo in late Dec. 2020 saying that he was leaving New Zealand, a hint that the first two episodes of the Amazon series had been completed. “This is my last photo in New Zealand. I have no words to thank this extraordinary land and its beautiful people for taking me in this last year and a half. My heart feels a little kiwi now and I can’t wait to be back,” he wrote. J.A. is also an executive producer.
Amazon Studios has not revealed a release date for The Lord of the Rings series. Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, noted back in 2018 that it was expected the show would premiere in 2021. “It’ll be in production in two years; [on the air in] 2021 is the hope,” she told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “But there are other people who wish it was 2020.”
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and a fluctuating filming schedule, it’s unclear if the show will still premiere in 2021. The Lord of the Rings series is a large-scale production, similar to Game of Thrones, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the premiere was pushed until 2022. The first season will consist of 8 episodes.
The Lord of the Rings series features a massive ensemble cast from all over the globe. In Jan. 2020, Amazon Studios revealed the first set of cast members, including Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman.
You’ve likely seen many of these cast members before. Robert is best known for playing a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. Robert reportedly replaced Will Poulter, who had been in negotiations for the young hero role, according to Deadline. Will left the project due to scheduling conflicts. Nazanin is widely recognized for her roles in Counterpart, Homeland, and more. Ismael is jumping from one major TV series to another. He recently starred in the hit HBO miniseries The Undoing.
Amazon revealed a second wave of cast members in Dec. 2020. Those cast members include Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, and Sara Zwangobani. Ian, Kip, Anthony, Maxine, Peter, Alex, and Leon all hail from New Zealand. The remaining cast members hail from Australia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart. These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. The international cast of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle-earth,” showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement.
The LOTR series has already been renewed for a second season. Amazon Studios head, Jennifer Salke, confirmed to Deadline that season 2 was already in the works all the way back in Nov. 2019. Along with the renewal, the show was expected to go on a 4 to 5 month hiatus after filming the first two episodes of season 1 to give the writing team time to write and plan season 2.
How To Watch
The Lord of the Rings series will be available to watch on Amazon Prime Video. Whether the episodes will be released weekly or all at once remains to be seen. Both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies are currently available to watch with an HBO Max subscription.