Filming has wrapped in New Zealand for season 1 of Amazon’s The Lord of The Rings series, with the studio marking this momentous occasion by offering fans a first look of Middle-earth – as well as announcing a release date.
The frontrunner for world’s most expensive TV show will officially debut on September 2nd of 2022 in 240 international territories via Prime Video, almost eight years since the release of Peter Jackson’s universally panned, closing instalment of The Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies. The wait, however, promises to be a worthwhile one.
“As Bilbo says: ‘Now I think I am quite ready to go on another journey,’” says showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay.
“Living and breathing Middle-earth these many months has been the adventure of a lifetime. We cannot wait for fans to have the chance to do so as well.”
“I can’t express enough just how excited we all are to take our global audience on a new and epic journey through Middle-earth,” adds Jennifer Salke, CEO of Amazon Studios.
“Our talented producers, cast, creative, and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”
The forthcoming series will depict the “heroic legends” of Middle-earth’s fabled Second Age history for the very first time. Set thousands of years before the events of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it’ll 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.
Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows 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.
While not directly referenced by name, given the confirmation the story is set during the Second Age, as well as the mention of “the greatest villain” ever conceived by Tolkien, many have safely assumed the rise of Sauron will serve as the show’s main conflict.
Earlier reports have also hinted the this entire affair will be slapped with an R-rating… and not just for the violence, either. The highly-confidential production had once again been outed by their online listings and casting calls, seeking out an intimacy coordinator – think the sex equivalent of a fight choreographer – as well as actors “comfortable with nudity”.
Naturally, fans were quick to voice their opinions regarding the HBO-ification of yet another beloved fantasy universe. Already uncertain about the upcoming series’ direction given it’s an entirely unexplored storyline, the prospect of a Lord of the Rings TV series earning its R-rating for the wrong reasons ruffled some feathers. Though Amazon Prime Video has yet to confirm or deny the latest reveal.
Finally, onto the matter of onscreen talent, here are some of the more notable names featured in the XL ensemble cast:
- Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones)
- Owain Arthur (The Palace)
- Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland)
- Tom Budge (The Pacific)
- Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
- Ismael Cruz Córdova (The Mandalorian)
- Ema Horvath (The Gallows Act II)
- Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper)
- Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones)
- Tyroe Muhafidin (Treasure Maps and Tinned Spaghetti)
- Megan Richards (Wanderlust)
- Dylan Smith (Total Recall)
- Charlie Vickers (Medici)
- Daniel Weyman (Gentleman Jack)
Once again, Amazon’s The Lord of The Rings series currently has a scheduled release date of September 2nd in 2022 (hang in there, Tolkien fans).