The elves received three, the dwarves seven, the men nine…
“One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
Chances are, if you’re a fantasy fan, you’ve got the above epitaph memorized and you are very familiar with the tale of The Lord of the Rings, but how well do you know the story before the popular Tolkien novels?
Amazon announced in 2017 that it would be adapting a Lord of the Rings show.
Here’s what we know so far:
We know who’s part of the creative team. Last year it was announced that J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay had been hired to write the adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic. Most may know them from their work on Star Trek, but they’ve been writing together for over a decade. When they were announced as writers, they said that they felt like a particular hobbit in a press release:
“We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to bring it to life anew. We feel like Frodo, setting out from the Shire, with a great responsibility in our care — it is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.”
Amazon has hired executive producers from other popular shows to work on this as well including Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones) and Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), writer/executive producer Justin Doble (Stranger Things), and writer/executive producer Jason Cahill (The Sopranos).
So who is directing?
Earlier in July, Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona was listed as the director. Bayona is known for directing Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom. He said that he is a fan of Tolkien and called this opportunity an honor and a joy, adding, “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.”
We have an actress!
Markella Kavenagh has been announced as the series’ first regular cast member. The Australian actress’ previous works include Romper Stomper (TV series), The Cry (a mini-series), and My Life is Murder (TV series).
Details about Kavenagh’s character have not been released yet, but if you look her up on IMDB under the series it says: “Tyra (rumored).” Hmm…
So if this takes place before Lord of the Rings, what and where is the story?
In March, there was a tweet which showed an expanded map of Middle-earth, focusing on the island of Númenor. This is where Aragorn descended from and it was destroyed prior to the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This map adds to the rumors that this series will take place in the Second Age. (If you don’t remember, the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy takes place in the Third Age.) In the Second Age, there was a downfall of a kingdom, the Last Alliance formed, Rivendell was founded under Elrond, the dwarves were prospering, and the Rings were forged. The number of possible storylines is limitless!
What more do we know?
As a book dragon (I’m feistier than a bookworm), one of my pet peeves is when too much is cut out from the source material when it is turned into a show or film. I am happy with the news that there is a behind-the-scenes supervisor position being filled by Tom Shippey who is a J.R.R. Tolkien scholar.
Shippey’s main task will be to see that “the main shape of the Second Age is not altered.” What does that mean? Amazon cannot change anything established in Tolkien’s books; the First and Third Ages are also off limits for the TV show.
Tolkien’s estate retains the rights to veto any content. Shippey recently announced that the first season of the show will have 20 episodes. A teaser video dropped on July 27th. If you haven’t seen it, you can see it here:
The series is set to begin production in 2020 with no release date yet. If anyone knows how to make time pass by more quickly, let us know. In the meantime, what are you hoping to see in the upcoming series? Tell us in the comments!