The mystery surrounding Amazon’s new JRR Tolkien adaptation has been lifted slightly, as the series has revealed its title. The multi-series epic will be known as Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, preparing viewers for an on-screen portrayal of a new Middle-earth story.
“The Rings of Power brings together all the major stories of the Second Age of Middle-earth: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord, Sauron, the epic of Númenor and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men”, have said showrunners, JD Payne and Patrick McKay, in a statement accompanying a video that shows the program’s title being forged in a blacksmith’s foundry.
“Until now, audiences have only seen the story of the One Ring on screen – but before there was one, there were many…and we’re thrilled to share everyone’s epic story.”
Filming for the first season took place in New Zealand, with the second series set to begin filming in the UK after a surprise decision to change countries. It’s widely believed to be the most expensive TV show of all time, with Amazon beating Netflix to a $250m (£207m) deal with the Tolkien estate, HarperCollins and Warner Bros for acquire the rights to the fantasy story. He’s reportedly spending around $1 billion on the adaptation, on a multi-series deal that’s expected to last at least five series.
In 2017, a Tolkien expert working on the Lord of the Rings adaptation confirmed that Amazon did not have permission from the author’s estate to use most of the material from his novel – and, thus, the plot would not intersect with the Peter Jackson films. As a result, the series will be a prequel, set thousands of years before the novel and the book that precedes it, The Hobbit.
Plot details are scarce, but Tolkien’s Second Age begins after the banishment of the dark lord Morgoth. It ends with the first demise of Sauron, the servant of Morgoth and the main villain of The Lord of the Rings, at the hands of an alliance of elves and men. Amazon’s synopsis describes the series as “beginning in a time of relative peace”, stating that it “will follow a cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the dreaded re-emergence of evil on the planet. Middle Earth”.
The teaser video features a speech known as “Ring Verse”. Given that it references 20 separate rings, it seems likely that the Prime series will feature 20 power rings, unlike the one featured in previous adaptations.
Its first episode is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on September 2 and air simultaneously in 240 countries.