Whether we like it or not, Hollywood is returning to the world of dwarfs, magic, hobbits, and Middle-earth. Amazon Studio’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings series, Rings of Power, revisits the seminal work of fantasy literature after director Peter Jackson first adapted writer JRR Tolkien’s main trilogy and then its prequel. The Hobbit.
This time, a new creative team is digging deeper into the Tolkien lore to tell a story many fans may not be familiar with. Here’s everything we know about the new series so far, including hints the cast gave CBC about what to expect.
First look at Tolkien’s ‘Second Age’
While previous adaptations have focused primarily on Lord of the Ringsis “Third Age”, power rings goes thousands of years before, to the “Second Age”. That period, spanning some 3,500 years, includes a wealth of background leading directly into the main trilogy: the story of Númenor (the ancient realm of Men that would eventually come to Middle-earth), the rise and fall of the main the villain Sauron and, of course, the forge of the 20 rings of power.
Looking back on that da history power rings the opportunity to expand on some lesser-known characters that influence the films that audiences are most familiar with. That includes Isildur, the character most famous for refusing to destroy the ring when he had the chance at the start of the first installment. The Fellowship of the Ring.
Isildur will be played by Maxim Baldry in the Amazon Prime adaptation, a responsibility he called “nerve-wracking.” He called his version of the character his, a young sailor from Númenor who dreams of becoming a ship’s captain, an explorer who “leaves a little path of destruction wherever he wants he goes”.
Another established character brought over from the main trilogy is Elendil, played by Lloyd Owen. That character is the father of Isildur, distant ancestor of Aragorn and the first king of Gondor, the great white city made famous by the third. Lord of the Rings movie, The return of the King.
“The exciting part for me is that there are these signs in the way that Tolkien has written, but he hasn’t really developed these characters to the extent that the other characters are in The Lord of the rings books,” Owen said, adding that he was excited to have “the chance to start imagining what it could be like, personifying what it might sound like.”
As Owen said, the power rings it is based on part of Tolkien’s less developed story. Although Amazon Prime has the rights to use the information of Lord of the Rings‘ appendices: extensive, but not story-focused, additions to the novels, also called Legendary – they I don’t have access to other books Tolkien wrote that cover the same period.
As a workaround, showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKaye introduce a number of new characters that don’t conflict with movie canon. Lord of the Ringsbut they help shore up some missing narrative.
One such addition is Eärien of Ema Horvath, daughter of Elendil. Horvath said that the character brings a “new feminine energy” to the family that might not otherwise exist. He also said that the experience of bringing an invented character to the Lord of the Rings The world is completely different from what his canon castmates are going through.
“There’s a little less pressure, because you’re still not playing someone that the readers have built up in their minds,” he said.
“I mean, the other side of that is desperately wanting to be accepted by the fans, the…existence of my character to be accepted.”
Some other new characters include Poppy Proudfellow, played by Megan Richards, and Elanor (Nori) Brandyfoot, played by Markella Kavenagh. Richards described her character as a “witty, sarcastic, funny” hobbit who “is also incredibly cautious, which comes from her background, which you learn throughout the series.”
For his part, Kavenagh described Nori as a “resolute, curious and inquisitive hobbit”, with a tendency to get others into trouble.
“There were times when I would read the scripts and say, ‘At least don’t drag other people or other beings into your mess.'”
To support the expansive story, Amazon has reportedly gone to great lengths to make the show a spectacle. With an estimated budget of $465 million in the US, that is, with subsequent seasons, the show could quickly top $1 billion – is the most expensive series ever produced, according to Entertainment Weekly and New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, Stuart Nash. The series was filmed in New Zealand.
Kavenagh said the funding resulted in fairly minimal green screen work. “They built all these sets for us,” she said. “They made them as real as possible.”
The huge price tag speaks to streamers’ hunger for big-name properties competing in an increasingly crowded field, and Amazon’s confidence that people are still interested in more of Tolkien’s world.
in a Hollywood Reporter Roundtable Last year, Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke explained that they would need a “global audience” for the show to be profitable. It’s a tall order, though Salke said Amazon is “pretty sure that’s going to happen.”
An old world updated
Trying to capture that audience, power rings is attempting to address some of the criticisms previously leveled against the franchise. Critics have often criticized Peter Jackson’s adaptations for a lack of diversity in both gender and race, something the cast has already rejected this time around.
After the cast list was first announced, with some fans expressing outrage at a more gender-balanced cast than previously seen, the creative team backed off.
“It seemed natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world is really like,” said executive producer Lindsey Weber, told the vanity fair at the beginning of this year. “Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about fictional races who do their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.”
When asked if the show’s plot would have women front and center this time around, Richards had a forceful answer.
“Well, we’re here,” she said. “And I think that says it all.”
Another change is Sophia Nomvete, who plays Disa, a dwarf princess. Although the character was created for the series (the show has her married to Prince Durin IV, played by Owen Arthur, who appeared in Tolkien’s appendices), Nomvete’s portrayal makes her the first female and first black actor to play a dwarf. in a Tolkien adaptation.
“It means absolutely everything,” Nomvete said of her role in bringing the representation of people of color to Tolkien’s mythos. “They were all cast because they were absolutely the best people for the role, and to be a part of redressing the balance within this world is an honor.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power It will premiere on Amazon Prime on September 2, 2022.
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