‘Lord of the Rings’ Amazon Series Gets an Official Release Date

Everything We Know About the Amazon ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series So Far

One epic fantasy series to rule them all.

For a while, it looked as if we had to wait a whole other year for the latest development about The Lord of the Rings television series from Amazon Studios. Fortunately, there’s a bright ray of hope for Tolkien fans (and Game of Thrones fans who are looking for a new fantasy series after wiping all knowledge of their show’s finale). Now, our return to the cinematic universe of Middle-earth has an official release date. Here’s everything we know about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series so far.  

The first image from Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series 

On 2 Aug 2021, Amazon released a sneak peak and an official photograph taken from the show’s first episode. It features a character whose identity has yet to be revealed. Still, it’s already enough to make fans’ imaginations run wild with speculation and theories. 

First Image of Lord of the Rings Amazon Series

The first official still from the highly-anticipated ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series features a character whose identity is unknown. | Image credit: Amazon Studios 

Back in Mar 2019, Amazon Studios published a tweet that read: “Welcome to the Second Age.” This post leads to a high-resolution interactive map of Middle-earth which includes the star-shaped island of Númenor. You can scroll through the vast terrain and fascinating topography of the map here

What will The Lord of the Rings Amazon series be about? 

Helmed by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is poised to be an “epic drama” that takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth. This lesser-known period in Middle-earth’s history precedes Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures for thousands of years. 

Nevertheless, a number of fans are hoping that the TV series will include familiar characters from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. A young Galadriel, for instance, is confirmed by Variety to appear in the prequel series. 

Map of Middle-earth with the island of Numenor

A map of Middle-earth that includes the island of Númenor. | Image credit: The Lord of the Rings on Prime Official Twitter Page

Without spoiling the show too much, the official synopsis reads as follows: “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.” 

The synopsis further expounds on the setting and the high stakes of the series: “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 reemergence 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.”

Starting Jan 2022, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series will no longer be filmed in New Zealand 

New Zealand has long been the cinematic home for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies. | Image credit: Nate Johnston

Filming The Lord of the Rings series in New Zealand reportedly cost Amazon Studios US$465 million for the first season alone, making it the most expensive season of television of all time. Yet in an unexpected move that might shock long-time fans of the franchise, The Lord of the Rings series is bidding farewell to New Zealand and relocating the production to the United Kingdom for season two. 

Despite New Zealand’s triumphs as a pandemic success story, the country’s strict lockdown measures and quarantine restrictions present “logistical challenges” for The Lord of the Rings cast members who are from the U.K., according to The Hollywood Reporter. New Zealand’s borders will also remain closed for the rest of 2021, as per a recent announcement from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

From Hobbiton to Rivendell, New Zealand has long been the cinematic home of Middle-earth and the primary filming location for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. On the other hand, relocating the production to the U.K. will enable the Lord of the Rings cast members — the majority of whom are from Great Britain — to work in a set that’s closer to home and still spend time with their families. 

Filming on location in New Zealand. | Image credit: The Lord of the Rings on Prime Official Twitter Page

Another factor in moving the production to the U.K. is “the opportunity to film in other locations around Europe,” as reported by Deadline. In this regard, The Lord of the Rings series will be taking a page from HBO’s Game of Thrones, which shot scenes in Ireland and several countries around Europe, including Spain, Iceland, Malta, and Croatia. 

The so-far untitled series is produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Post-production on the show’s first season will take place in New Zealand until Jun 2022, while pre-production on season two will start in the U.K. after 1 Jan 2022. 

Also read: 10 Must-Watch TV Series on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

Official release date of The Lord of the Rings TV series 

Mark your calendar for the official release date of The Lord of the Rings series, which is set to premiere on 2 Sep 2022 on Amazon Prime Video. Even as we stare down one more year of waiting, eagle-eyed Tolkien fans will surely recognise how important this date is: The 22nd day of September is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  

Will Amazon’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings be the epic fantasy series to rule them all? Only time will tell. Until that fateful day in September arrives, there’s more than enough time to hit the books and brush up on the rich and sprawling lore of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. 

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer who covers travel, food, shopping, and pop culture. She has a soft spot for stories about Japan and Italy. While she waits patiently for her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.