By: Devon Coggin …..
Information about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV show is never late. Nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it means to.
Amazon has shared a cryptic first look at its long-anticipated Lord of the Rings series, announcing Monday that season one has finished filming in New Zealand. The streaming service also revealed a premiere date for the show: Sept. 2, 2022, with new episodes rolling out week to week.
The show still doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s set during J.R.R. Tolkien’s Second Age, a period of Middle-earth history thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Per Amazon, the show follows “an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.” (Plot details are still being kept under wraps, but if you’ve read Tolkien’s Silmarillion or the appendices to Lord of the Rings, you know that the Second Age was a period of major upheaval in Middle-earth, with Sauron rising to power and first forging the One Ring.)
Although it remains to be seen exactly which familiar faces may pop up, the show is confirmed to journey through much of Middle-earth’s varied geography, from the Elf realm of Lindon and the Dwarf cities of the Misty Mountains to the ancient island of Númenor (home to Aragorn’s kingly ancestors).
As for the actual first image from the show, Amazon isn’t revealing many details, just that it’s a shot from the first episode, featuring a mysterious figure in white. But the presence of two illuminated trees in the background gives us a clue: They appear to be Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees of Valinor — the two ancient light sources crafted by the Valar to give light to all of Middle-earth before the existence of the sun and the moon. Valinor is a holy place, home to the powerful and angelic Valar, and the Elves dwelled there ages ago in times of peace.
Interestingly, the Two Trees were destroyed years before the Second Age, which suggests that the first episode of the show will cover a much longer period of time than initially expected. (Might we get an extended flashback intro, similar to how Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel introduced the history of the Ring at the beginning of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring movie?)
The series’ announced cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
“As Bilbo says, ‘Now I think I am quite ready to go on another journey,'” showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement. “Living and breathing Middle-earth these many months has been the adventure of a lifetime. We cannot wait for fans to have the chance to do so as well.”
With a reported price tag of about $464 million, the first season of Lord of the Rings is expected to be the most expensive television season ever made, and Amazon is already moving ahead on a second season.