Trust us; Amazon Prime’s epic Lord Of The Rings series is all anyone will be talking about come September 2022…
Just last year, Pembroke College delivered a timely lecture on the importance of fantasy in times of crisis, and how slipping into a magical other-world can provide inspiration during moments of despair and personal difficulty.
After the year we’ve had, then, is it any wonder that Amazon Prime is gearing up to send us all on a much-needed adventure next autumn?
Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming The Lord Of The Rings TV series – aka one of the most expensive shows in history, thanks to its £327.7 million budget.
What’s the plot of The Lord Of The Rings series?
Fans of the original LOTR films will be all too aware of what to expect from this new epic fantasy drama; wizards, dwarves, elves, orcs and, of course, hobbits.
Set thousands of years before the movies, though, the as-yet-untitled show will bring Tolkien’s fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history to our screens for the very first time.
“Beginning in a time of relative peace, it follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth,” promises Amazon’s official release.
Who will star in The Lord Of The Rings series?
The series boasts a talented ensemble cast, including the likes of Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, and Nazanin Boniadi.
Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete will also star in the series, alongside Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
Morfydd Clark, meanwhile, will take on a younger version of Galadriel, originally played by Cate Blanchett in the films.
Will any original characters return for The Lord Of The Rings series?
Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the original trilogy, has expressed interest in reprising his role.
When asked by Graham Norton on his BBC radio show if it was going to be annoying to have someone else play his iconic character, McKellen replied: “What do you mean, another Gandalf?”
He added: “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.”
Who is bringing The Lord Of The Rings series to our TV screens?
The series is led by showrunners and executive producers JD Payne and Patrick McKay. Utopia’s Wayne Che Yip, meanwhile, will serve as co-executive producer – not to mention direct alongside The Impossible’s JA Bayona and The Witcher’s Charlotte Brändström.
How much has it cost to make The Lord Of The Rings series?
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Amazon has spent around $450 million (£327.7 million) on the show’s first season alone, and will receive a hefty tax rebate from New Zealand – where the series is filming – of well over $100 million.
“What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million [New Zealand dollars] in season one alone,” Stuart Nash, New Zealand’s minister for economic development and tourism, previously told Morning Report.
“This is fantastic, it really is… this will be the largest television series ever made.”
Why has The Lord Of The Rings series hired an intimacy coordinator?
The production has hired New Zealand intimacy coordinator Jennifer Ward-Lealand. And, prior to her hiring, there have been casting calls for actors who will be comfortable about sensitive physical exposures.
It is worth noting, though, that The Tolkien Estate controls the legacy of Tolkien very carefully and has established a lot of rules and restrictions for the adaptation – which means it’s highly unlikely the series will feature the “gratuitous Game Of Thrones-style nudity” that so many disappointed fans have suggested on social media.
What are people saying about The Lord Of The Rings series?
Jennifer Salke, aka the head of Amazon Studios, says: “I can’t express enough just how excited we all are to take our global audience on a new and epic journey through Middle-earth! Our talented producers, cast, creative, and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”
Payne and McKay, meanwhile, add: “As Bilbo says, ‘Now I think I am quite ready to go on another journey.’ 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.”
When can we watch The Lord Of The Rings series?
“The journey begins 2 September 2022 with the premiere of our original The Lord of the Rings series on Prime Video,” promises Salke.
We will bring you more details as and when they become available.
Images: Getty/Amazon Prime
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.