The New "LOTR: The Rings of Power" Trailer Is Filled With Epic Battles
Amazon's highly-anticipated "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" series finally premieres on Sept. 2, and fans can hardly contain their excitement. The streamer released the show's main trailer on July 14, five months after its dramatic 60-second first-look teaser clip provided a window into the ambitious, maximalist forthcoming "Lord of the Rings" prequel — and the trailers just keep on coming now.
The series was announced in November 2017, and in June 2018, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke gave fans an idea of what the show will be like when she told The Hollywood Reporter that the studio was in the process of talking to writers. "All of us would love a big, addictive show that is executed at the top of its game," she said. "I have sat with three or four different groups of writers . . . My hope would be to put together a group of talented people, which will obviously have a leader who can embark on this big ambitious endeavor."
A few months shy of a year later, the official Twitter account for the show posted a series of tweets that revealed a bit of what all that hard work behind the scenes was going into. Among other things, we now know that the series will be set in the Second Age, a few thousand years before Aragorn (the heir to the kingdom of men in "The Lord of the Rings," played by Viggo Mortensen) was even born! And as the series's release date approaches, all the glimpses we've gotten so far have seemed to promise a worthwhile prequel to one of the biggest fantasy trilogies to ever grace the silver screen.
Are you curious about the story and the creative process? Wondering if any familiar faces from the original trilogy will make appearances? Trying to mark your calendar with a premiere date? Keep reading ahead to check out everything we known about "The Rings of Power."
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Official Trailer
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Comic-Con Trailer
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Teaser Trailer No. 1
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Teaser Trailer No. 2
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Plot
Fans initially believed the show would focus on the younger years of Aragorn, as Tolkien's other writings cover "huge swaths of time" during this period. On March 7, 2019, the show's Twitter account revealed the series would take place during the Second Age by releasing a series of tweets that showed several maps of Middle-earth. Then, on Jan. 12, 2021, TheOneRing.Net reported the official synopsis:
"Amazon Studios' forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings,' and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien's pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone."
Peter Jackson's film trilogy is technically set during the end of the Third Age and the beginning of the Fourth Age of Middle-earth. The events that unfold during the Second Age — the rise of Númenor, the rings are forged, Sauron creates the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, and finally, the downfall of Sauron — all lead into the events of the Jackson trilogy. This also means we'll be delving more into the lives of the elves and men who were briefly mentioned or seen in other Jackson films.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Old Cast
A number of stars from the LOTR film series have discussed the possibility of returning over the years — for example, Ian McKellen has long been totally down to play Gandalf again. Back in December 2017, he discussed the Amazon series during a visit on "The Graham Norton Show." When Norton suggested that they may have to cast another Gandalf for the show, McKellen wouldn't hear it. "What do you mean, another Gandalf? 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." McKellen has not been officially confirmed for the new series, so we'll have to wait until the premiere to find out.
Meanwhile, powerful elven leaders Galadriel and Elrod are confirmed to return, though they will be played by different actors — Morfydd Clark will replace Cate Blanchett as a young Galadriel, and Robert Aramayo will replace Hugo Weaving as Elrond.
Dominic Monaghan, meanwhile, wasn't opposed to reprising his role as Merry. "It just depends how they do it, really," he told EW in 2018. "If they do the older hobbits sitting around reminiscing on their journeys, of course I'd do that. I love that world, and I think introducing new generations to that world only brings them back to the Peter Jackson trilogy, and to the books." Of course, the new series's timeline means Merry won't be making an appearance.
Not everyone from the original cast was on board to return (even if Amazon asked). John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli in the original trilogy, isn't a fan of the series. In fact, he dislikes the idea. "Why we quite need 'Lord of the Rings' as a TV series baffles me slightly," he told Den of Geek in 2017. "I mean, the extraordinary money they're getting from online gambling and stuff like this, it's just a disgrace."
Andy Serkis, who memorably portrayed Gollum and Smeagol, also wasn't up for joining in, but he was a bit kinder about the prospect of a TV series. "It sounds incredible, but I don't see myself being any part of it," he said to Screencrush in 2018. "I think it's a completely fresh, new approach to it all, so I don't think I'd imagine myself to be anywhere near it, really."
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" New Cast
"The Rings of Power" has a large cast that will feature a host of new characters not from the original Lord of the Rings series. Among the new players, Ismael Cruz Córdova will play Arondir, an elf in a forbidden romance with a new character named Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi. Tyroe Muhafidin will play Theo, Bronwyn's son.
Meanwhile, Charles Edwards will play Celebrimbor, the elf who crafts the three elven rings of power that come to shape the events that transpire in the original series, and Benjamin Walker will play High King Gil-galad, ruler of the elves.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Release Date
After years of delays, the first season of "The Rings of Power" is now set to premiere on Amazon Prime on Sept. 2. Viewers across the world will have a chance to screen the first two episodes of the series in Cinemark theaters (rewards members only) on Aug. 31 ahead of its streaming debut, per an announcement from the theater chain.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Creative Process
The powers that be have worked very closely with J.R.R. Tolkien's estate to flesh out the story and create something cool and original. In June 2018, Variety spoke with Salke and she gave an update on the process. She said the deal only finally closed in May of that year. Salke also said she had spent three hours with Simon Tolkien, Tolkien's grandson.
Salke said Amazon's deal with Tolkien's estate "covers most, but not all of the material connected to the author's Middle Earth saga," but it's too early for specifics. "It's not a remaking of the movies, and it's not a whole new thing. It's something in between. It's not, 'Oh, it's 'Lord of the Rings,' but you don't recognize anything in it,' but it's not totally familiar to you either. So it's original." Sounds vague and confusing, but we sort of get it.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Showrunners
On July 28, 2018, Amazon Studios announced JD Payne and Patrick McKay will develop the series. The pair have most recently worked on "Jungle Cruise" and "Star Trek 4." In response to their involvement, they said, "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."
"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Budget
According to Deadline, the company paid $250 million to Tolkien's estate, publisher HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema to create a series set in Middle-earth. The terms of the deal also specified that Amazon must begin production on the series within two years, which was hopefully enough time to save up for how much the show is going to cost. Early reports suggest between casting, producers, and visual effects, it will likely shake out to more than $1 billion. Do you know how much lembas that could buy you?!