Pop Culture

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Is Boldly Going Where J.R.R. Tolkien Didn’t

The plot synopsis for the highly anticipated TV show reveals it will be set during the mysterious Second Age.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Courtesy of Amazon.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series is one of the biggest TV projects in development, and it’s also one of the most mysterious. The studio has been incredibly tight-lipped about their big budget adaptation, but we now have a broad description and, most importantly, a title: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The showrunners, relative newcomers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, clearly are comfortable setting the bar extremely high: “This is a title that we imagine could live on the spine of a book next to J.R.R. Tolkien’s other classics. The Rings of Power unites all the major stories of Middle-earth’s Second Age: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men,” the pair said in a press release. “Until now, audiences have only seen onscreen the story of the One Ring — but before there was one, there were many…and we’re excited to share the epic story of them all.”

The “Second Age” refers to a long period in the history of Middle Earth that ends with the defeat of Sauron, and precedes Tolkein’s book and Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, which take place during the Third Age. The titular Rings of Power were forged in this era and 19 of them were given to elves, dwarves, and humans as a way to incentivize them to support Sauron’s reign. The One Ring, which figures so heavily into the plot of the original trilogy is the most powerful of the 20 (it’s what Frodo and the gang traveled all that way to destroy, after all).

The title announcement also came with an epic, sweeping video that explained the origins of the rings and how they were all allotted.

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Payne and McKay—who did uncredited work on Star Trek Beyond and are also involved in a new Flash Gordon series— have been working on this series for years, beating out a host of other creatives with the winning pitch after Amazon purchased the rights without having a story planned. But where Jackson’s films had Tolkien’s tomes as source material to faithfully pull from, his writing on the Second Age mostly amounts to a Lord of the Rings Appendix and an official History of Middle Earth. Which means that Payne and McKay are, for all intents and purposes, crafting this fleshed out story of the period from scratch.

Episodes start airing on September 2, and will come out weekly.

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