Ever since Amazon Studios announced a Lord of the Rings prequel series would be coming to its streaming service, fans have been clamoring to find out information. Being that it’s been more than three years since the news first broke, a lot has come thankfully been spilled.
For one, the show, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal series, will follow for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history.
According to an official release by Amazon, the epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers 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.
There’s also been plenty of rumors and leaked information that has come about and Nerdist has helped compile what’s known at this time to be true.
For one, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay started filming the upcoming series in New Zealand, bringing the franchise back to the country where Peter Jackson shot his iconic six films of the series.
“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,” said Payne and McKay in a statement.
Production started in 2020 and two episodes were just about complete when COVID shut down the filming, though it resumed in September.
A.J. Bayona, who directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, served as director for the first two episodes and an A-list of directors are expected to take part in the series.
Fans of the films will be happy to hear that John Howe, who served as a conceptual designer for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series, is also on board.
As for the cast, it’s been revealed that Game of Thrones’ Robert Aramayo will star as Beldor, described as the “young hero.” Fellow Thrones actor Joseph Mawle is also part of the cast, as are Morfydd Clark, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman and Maxim Baldry.
It could be the most expensive show in TV history
That $250 million rights package was already massive, but once production and casting costs are factored in, THR estimate that this thing will cost over $1 billion. When courting the book rights, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos allegedly told his staff he wanted to find the next Game of Thrones. Dumping a billion dollars into another beloved fantasy property is one way to do that, we guess. But will it pay off? That’s a steep price tag for a TV series that has no guarantee of success.
The first season might be 20 episodes
In an interview with the German Tolkien fansite, Deutsche Tolkien, Tom Shippey- mentioned that “there’s supposed to be 20 episodes for the first season.” That’s a high number for an hour-long streaming series, which are typically in the 10 to 12 episode range. But for an epic series like Lord of the Rings, it’s not totally surprising.
A second season was already ordered
While a release date for season one has yet to be announced, the series has already been picked up for a second season, according to Variety. The renewal isn’t too surprising, given the series’ deal with the streaming platform. Amazon opted into a multi-season commitment when acquiring the series, but each new season needs to be formally picked up by the streamer.
It might be about the rise and fall of Númenor
Last May, Lord of the Rings fan site TheOneRing.net reported that “multiple sources” confirmed to them that Amazon’s prequel series would focus on a young Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen‘s character in the film trilogy. They went on to state that the series will not cover the War of the Ring, as featured in Jackson’s trilogy, but would instead draw inspiration from the book’s appendices, which get into Aragorn’s family history and his role as the heir of Isildur and the rightful king of Gondor.