Ready to return to the Shire? We've been missing Middle-earth practically since the moment the Lord of the Rings saga ended, but now Amazon is about to let us return! The streaming service is hard at work creating a Lord of the Rings TV series, and although details are sparse about what this series will look like and when we can expect it, we're still amped about this new show!
TV Guide has kept an eagle eye out for any and all spoilers about this new series, and we've compiled every scrap of casting news, premiere speculation, and plot information currently out there about this Lord of The Rings series. Here's what we know so far.
The series has been given the OK to film in New Zealand, following a coronavirus production shutdown. Amazon's forthcoming fantasy prequel will return to the site where Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed. According to New Zealand's Stuff, Amazon's Lord of the Rings series is one of several productions which will be given a border exemption to resume filming. Production was previously suspended on the series amid the coronavirus pandemic, beginning on March 16. The New Zealand Herald reported in March that a memo was sent to 800 cast and crew members explaining that the decision was precautionary and that no one should "report to the set or to the studio without the express permission of your supervisor."
It will hopefully premiere in 2021. A spin-off series is never late, it arrives precisely when it means to — and Amazon Studios means for the new Lord of the Rings prequel series to arrive at a pretty far off point in the future. Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke told The Hollywood Reporter that the series would ideally premiere in 2021, but that's still a ballpark figure.
It's already renewed for Season 2. Amazon announced in November of 2019 that is had renewed the series for a second season after filming only two episodes of Season 1. Production then went on a hiatus so the bulk of Season 2 could be written. If the series films straight Season 2 when it resumes filming, that could mean a shorter hiatus between seasons. Given that Amazon reportedly committed to multiple seasons of this prequel series when it acquired the rights to Lord of the Rings (with an option for a potential spin-off), it sounds like this is just the beginning of a whole lot more Lord of the Rings content.
It will be a prequel. Though we don't know specifics about when this series will be set. Amazon confirmed earlier this year that the television series will be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth. The Second Age lasted 3,441 years, and it ended with the downfall of the Dark Lord Sauron, the antagonist in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Given that franchise-defining plot point, there's a good chance this series will depict Sauron's rise and fall from power in Middle-earth.
Season 1 will be eight episodes. Amazon announced at the Television Critics Association 2020 winter press tour that the series first season would span eight episodes. Details on how long each episode will be were not announced.
A Game of Thrones alum will lead the series. Robert Aramayo, who played young Ned Stark in the HBO series, is set to star. He replaces Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Midsommar actor Will Poulter, who dropped out over a scheduling conflict.
The rest of the cast is starting to come together. Though casting rumors had been circulated for months after the series was announced, Amazon confirmed in January that Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, and Markella Kavenagh had officially joined the series. Additionally, TV Guide has learned that Maxim Baldry has also joined the cast in a lead role. No details were given about which characters these actors will play or whether those characters were elves, hobbits, or humans.
It's coming from fantasy and sci-fi heavy hitters. JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who previously worked on Star Trek 4, have been tapped to helm the series, and Game of Thrones' writer and producer Bryan Cogman has signed on to consult on the series. The creative team will also include executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), and Sharon Tal Yguado, along with writers Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), and Jason Doble (Stranger Things). Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4) joins Cogman as a consulting producer, while Ron Ames and Helen Shang (Hannibal) will also produce. Kate Hawley has been chosen as the series' costume designer, while Rick Henrichs joins as production designer, and Jason Smith supervises visual effects, per Variety.
The first two episodes have nabbed a director. Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona has been hired to direct the first two episodes of the series, Deadline reports. In a statement, Bayona said of the news, "J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team. I can't wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story." He previously directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Peter Jackson isn't involved. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit director confirmed to French press outlets that he is not involved in Amazon's new series.