‘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 Official Website

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 longtime 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 ReporterNew 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.  

The show’s official title

On  19 Jan 2022, The Lord of the Rings on Prime Facebook page finally announced the official title of the series — The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Fans of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy movie will already be familiar with Tolkien’s poem about the different rings of power in Middle-Earth:

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”

We already knew that the series would centre around the Second Age of Middle-Earth. Now, it’s clear that the showrunners have every intention of diving deeper into the lore and origin of all the rings of power. Sauron’s ring isn’t the only one to wield “magical” powers in Tolkien’s universe, yet the dark lord wanted to obtain all the rings to gain absolute dominion over living things. Spoiler alert: He failed to take all the Elven rings. It will be interesting to finally watch a fleshed-out retelling about how Sauron corrupted the nine kings of men and hunted down the dwarven and elven ring bearers.

Amazon Prime Video’s official YouTube channel also released the first ever teaser for the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, where the first half of the poem is recited:

A sneak peek of the LOTR series characters

On 10 Feb 2022, Amazon Prime release first look images of the show’s characters via a Vanity Fair exclusive.

Image credit: Amazon Studios via Vanity Fair

Playing the role of a young Galadriel is Morfydd Clark. And by “young,” we mean thousands of years younger, with a disposition that’s a far cry from the OG Galadriel played by Cate Blanchett.

Image credit: Amazon Studios via Vanity Fair

We’ll also get to see a young Elrond (Robert Aramayo) back when he was just an elven architect from the kingdom of Lindon. At the same time, though, he’s a rising charismatic politician full of cunning and ambition.

Image credit: Amazon Studios via Vanity Fair

In another storyline for The Lord of the Rings Amazon Prime series, we’re introduced to the forbidden lovers: a silvan elf, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova); and a human village healer, Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi). Cruz Córdova hails from Puerto Rico, and is the first-ever person of colour to play an elf onscreen in the LOTR franchise! Meanwhile, Boniadi is a British actress of Iranian descent.

Image credit: Amazon Studios via Vanity Fair

Now, on to the mighty dwarves of the Misty Mountains. Some of you are probably wondering (especially if you haven’t read the books) — are there even any female dwarves? Well, we’re about finally to watch one onscreen: Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete)! What makes this character even more groundbreaking is that Nomvete is the first black woman to play a lead role in the franchise.

Another dwarf we’re excited to meet is Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), ruler of the ancient subterranean realm of Khazad-dû… aka Moria. For those who need a refresher, it’s the same place from The Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf screamed, “You shall not pass!” as he fought the Balrog.

lord of the rings amazon series

“The show is a lavish, compelling mix of palace intrigue, magic, warfare, and mythology. Some characters will be familiar [from Tolkien’s books], and they will be the initial attraction as viewers watch their legendary fates unfurl. But the entirely new faces may ultimately become even more involving, since their destinies are literally unwritten,” wrote Vanity Fair.

Also read: How Switzerland Inspired the Magical Landscapes of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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 Authors

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany wrote articles on travel, food, and pop culture for TripZilla from 2019 to 2021. While she plans her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.

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Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.

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Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.

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