The mystery shrouding Amazon’s new JRR Tolkien adaptation has lifted slightly, as the show has revealed its title. The multi-series epic will be known as Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, setting viewers up for an on-screen representation of a new Middle-earth story.
“The Rings of Power unites all the major stories of Middle-earth’s Second Age: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord, Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men,” said showrunners, JD Payne and Patrick McKay, in a statement accompanying a video that shows the programme’s title being forged in a blacksmith’s foundry.
“Until now, audiences have only seen on-screen the story of the One Ring – but before there was one, there were many … and we’re excited to share the epic story of them all.”
Filming of the first season took place in New Zealand, with the second series due to begin shooting in the UK after a surprise decision to move countries. It is widely believed to be the most expensive TV show of all time, with Amazon beating Netflix to a $250m (£207m) deal with the Tolkien estate, HarperCollins and Warner Bros to acquire the rights to the fantasy story. It is reportedly spending around $1bn on the adaptation, over a multi-series deal expected to run to at least five series.
In 2017, a Tolkien expert working on the Lord of the Rings adaptation confirmed that Amazon didn’t have permission from the author’s estate to use the bulk of the material from his novel – and, so, the plot would not cross over with the Peter Jackson movies. As a result, the series will be a prequel, set thousands of years before the novel and the book that precedes it, The Hobbit.
Details of the plot are scarce, but Tolkien’s the Second Age begins after the banishment of the dark lord Morgoth. It ends with the first demise of Sauron, Morgoth’s servant and the primary villain in The Lord of the Rings, at the hands of an alliance of elves and men. Amazon’s synopsis describes the show as, “beginning in a time of relative peace”, stating that it will “follow an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth.”
The teaser video features a speech known as the “Ring Verse”. Given that it references 20 separate rings, it seems likely that the Prime series will feature 20 rings of power, unlike the one featured in previous adaptations.
Its first episode is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on 2 September, as well as being simulcast in 240 countries.