At a glance:
- Inspired by the events detailed in J.R.R. Tolkien’s history of Middle-earth beyond The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power explores what happened long before the events of those novels, dubbed the Second Age of Middle-earth.
- Set thousands of years before the events of the books and movies (which Rings of Power has a... tenuous connection to, and Amazon has been vague on the specifics), it details several events during the aforementioned Second Age, including Sauron’s forging of the titular magical Rings of Power, and the infamous One Ring designed to dominate all others to his will.
- It’s set to begin streaming on Prime Video starting September 2. Read io9's review here.
- Season one will run for eight episodes, and the series has already been granted a second season.
- Season two will likely premiere in 2024.
Last updated 3/31/2023.
The Rings of Power is about the Second Age of Middle-Earth.
Set during the Second Age of Middle-earth—for the record, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set at the very end of the Third Age—Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power charts the rise of Sauron, as the Dark Lord manipulates the beings of Middle-Earth to hatch plans to sow chaos and bend the land to his will. (Read more: Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Show Is About the Return of Sauron)
The Second Age itself is a period that spans over thousands of years, leaving plenty of room for stories to be told in The Rings of Power. Beyond the return of Sauron—diminished after a war against the Elves at the behest of the First Dark Lord, Morgoth—and the forging of the Rings of Power, the Second Age sees the fall of the island kingdom of Númenor, the descendants of whom go on to found the human kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, and even the making of the entire world from a flat plane into a spherical planet. (Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Lord of the Rings’ Second Age)
We do know that we won’t just see events from that specific period of time in the show, however. Our very first look at the series teased a glimpse back at the earliest years of creation in Tolkien’s vast reckoning of Arda, the world of his fantasy works. (Read More: Why the Glowing Trees in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Are So Important)
One thing we’re not so sure about is just how and if Rings of Power will connect to Peter Jackson’s iconic adaptation of Lord of the Rings. The Second Age culminates in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men doing battle with Sauron at the base of Mount Doom, an event seen in the opening of The Fellowship of the Ring, so we could see a connection there. Beyond that, all we know is that Amazon is allowed to use the nebulous idea of “materials” from the movies, but it’s been hazy about just what that means. Expect something evocative of the films, if not directly connected, visually speaking. (Read more: Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Show Can Use ‘Materials’ From the Movies, Whatever That Means)
Who is making The Rings of Power?
Rings of Power is showrun by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and features an expansive writing staff, including Breaking Bad’s Gennifer Hutchison and Hannibal’s Helen Shang, among many more. (Read more: Meet the Full Creative Team Behind Amazon’s Lord of the Rings)
There are also multiple directors attached to the series, each tackling a handful of episodes. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s J.A. Bayona helmed the first two episodes of the show, before passing the reigns to Wheel of Time and Doctor Who’s Wayne Che Yip for another four episodes, with The Witcher’s Charlotte Brändström directing the remaining two. Bear McCreary created to score to the epic series. (Read more: Your Latest Lembas-Crumb of Lord of the Rings Show News Is Here)
What’s the production schedule for The Rings of Power?
First announced in 2017, The Rings of Power entered production in 2020, and was paused due to the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in the summer of 2020, after New Zealand began lifting the first wave of strict covid-19 lockdown rules, with filming concluding in the middle of 2021. The series has cost Amazon over half a billion dollars to produce, with Amazon Studios’ Jennifer Salke defended the budget as necessary to build the world of Middle-earth to a desired scope. In a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, Salke said that “As for how many people need to watch Lord of the Rings? A lot. A giant, global audience needs to show up to it as appointment television, and we are pretty confident that that will happen.” (Read More: Amazon Explains Lord of the Rings’ Giant Budget, Which Is Still Smaller Than Jeff Bezos’ Yacht)
While the first season of The Rings of Power was filmed in New Zealand—following in the footsteps of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies—the already confirmed second season of the show will re-locate production to the United Kingdom. Post production on season one will last until roughly June 2022, with pre-production on season two starting in early 2022. (Read More: Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Series Just Dropped a Surprising Bit of Season 2 News)
What is the release date for The Rings of Power, Season Two?
The Rings of Power, season two, might premiere in 2024. No date is set. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season one premiered on September 2, 2022. Read io9's review here.
Is there a The Rings of Power trailer?
There is for season one. An official trailer was released on August 23. Before that it was San Diego Comic Con that gave us another trailer on July 22. A main teaser trailer was released on July 14. This teaser comes after the one released at the Super Bowl on February 13, it gives us a look at a few notable faces and the sweeping vistas of Arda, largely focusing on cryptic shtos of Morfydd Clark in action as Galadriel. (See More: The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power’s Stunning First Teaser Is Here)
Empire Magazine released all four cover variations of its forthcoming Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power issue. We also got an image of a Snow-Troll on June 5 from Empire Magazine, as well as our first look at the Harfoots. There are no trailers for season two.
Who is in the cast? Who do they play?
The Rings of Power has an incredibly large cast, including Will Fletcher (Finrod), Amelie Child-Villiers (Young Galadriel), and Beau Cassidy (Dilly Brandyfoot). In December 2020, Amazon announced a whopping 20 new additions. Deep breath, added to the cast were: Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Queen Regent Míriel), Ian Blackburn (Rowan), Kip Chapman (Rían), Anthony Crum (Ontamo), Maxine Cunliffe (Vilma), Trystan Gravelle (Pharazôn), Sir Lenny Henry (Sadoc Burrows), Thusitha Jayasundera (Malva), Fabian McCallum (Thondir), Simon Merrells (Watchwarden Revion), Geoff Morrell (Waldreg), Peter Mullan (King Durin III), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Augustus Prew (Médhor), Peter Tait (Tredwill), Alex Tarrant (Valandil), Leon Wadham (Kemen), Benjamin Walker (High King Gil-galad), and Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot). (Read More: Lord of the Rings Adds 20 Cast Members, and We Have No Idea What They’re Doing)
In late 2019, it was reported that His Dark Material’s Morfydd Clark had joined the series, playing a younger version of the Elven ruler Galadriel, portrayed by Cate Blanchett in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. (Read More: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s Morfydd Clark on Galadriel as a Warrior)
But Galadriel isn’t the only familiar face or notable figure from Tolkien’s lore in the show. Amazon has confirmed alongside Clark’s casting that Robert Aramayo will play Elrond, the future lord of Rivendell played by Hugo Weaving in the movies, while Celebrimbor, the Elven forgemaster deceived by Sauron into helping craft the rings of power will be played by Charles Edwards. Beyond Elves, the series has cast Maxim Baldry as Prince Isildur, the son of the future king of Gondor and Arnor, Elendil, and has teased a host of original characters as well: Charlie Vickers as a human named Halbrand that allies with Galadriel, Ismael Cruz Cruz Córdova and Nazanin Boniadi as the Silvan Elf Arondir and human healer Bronwyn caught in a forbidden romance, and Sophia Nomvete as Disa the Dwarven Princess of Khazad-dûm. (Read More: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s Cast on How the Show’s Elves and Dwarves Will Surprise Us.)
While we don’t know every character appearing, we do have a vague inkling of just some of the aesthetic of the show: in early February 2022, Amazon released the first character posters for the series, teasing 23 different characters of various races—including a teasing glimpse of the Dark Lord Sauron. (Read more: Give Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s Character Posters a Hand)
Season two has gotten a huge additional cast, including:
- Ben Daniels (Rogue One, The Crown)
- Nicholas Woodeson (Rome, Skyfall)
- Nia Towle (Persuasion)
- Amelia Kenworthy (IRL, Messenger)
- Sam Hazeldine (The Hunstman: Winter’s War, Sandman)
- Yasen ‘Zates’ Atour (The Witcher, Young Wallander)
- Gabriel Akuwudike (Hanna, The War of the Worlds)
- Ciarán Hinds (Belfast, Rome)
- Rory Kinnear (Men, Penny Dreadful)
- Tanya Moodie (Motherlands, The Clinic)
How can I watch The Rings of Power?
The show will stream exclusively on Amazon’s Prime Video platform, which will require a subscription. There is also an appendices available.
You can find our episode recaps below:
What’s next for the Lord of the Rings franchise?
We don’t know much of Amazon’s plans for the future of The Lord of the Rings beyond at the very least a second season of The Rings of Power. But we do know that there is at least one more Lord of the Rings projects coming to screens: last year Warner Bros. Animation and New Line Cinema announced that Kenji Kamiyama (Ultraman, Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045) will direct The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, a CG anime movie that tells the story of Helm Hammerhand, the legendary king of Rohan who’s reign saw the construction of Helm’s Deep, the fortress besieged by Saruman’s Uruk-Hai in The Two Towers. (Read More: Lord of the Rings Returns to Helm’s Deep for an Anime Film About the King of Rohan)
Looking for more on Rings of Power? Check out our other coverage below:
- The Orcs of The Rings of Power Are Worse Than You’ve Ever Seen Them
- Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power Is a ‘Mega Epic’ That Recontextualizes the Franchise
- Lord of the Rings Character Posters Thankfully Show More Than Just Hands This Time
- People Are Loving The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power
- Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s Co-Creators on Why Now Is the Time to Return to Middle-earth
- Okay, But is Ring of Power’s Middle Earth Flat Though?
- Lord of the Rings’ Wizards, Explained
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