Lord of the Rings: Everything we know about Amazon Prime Video’s big-budget TV series based on Tolkien’s epic fantasy novels

From the expected release date and filming locations to the rumoured cast and characters, we reveal everything we know about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV adaptation so far.

By Sophia Moir Published: 21 January 2020 - 9.15am
Drama Prime Video

Lord of the Rings

Spanish director J.A. Bayona will recreate Middle-earth for the billion-dollar series

It’s been called the "most expensive TV series ever”, reportedly costing more than $1 billion to make, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

And the anticipation for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series on Prime Video - led by J.A. Bayona (above) is palpable, with production set to start in New Zealand very soon.

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novels - which were famously adapted into a string of Oscar-winning movies by Peter Jackson - Amazon’s multi-season, big budget adaptation has got everyone talking.

From the expected release date and filming locations to the rumoured cast and characters, we reveal everything we know about Lord of the Rings on Amazon Prime Video so far.

Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke

When is the Lord of the Rings TV series on Prime?

Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, has said that "2021 is the hope" in terms of a release but she says that there are other people who "wish it was 2020".

Production is thought to start on location in New Zealand in October/November 2019, so we shall have to keep our fingers crossed for a 2020/2021 release.

Is there a trailer?

Not yet as the series hasn’t been filmed yet. We’ll keep you posted!

Who’s in the cast of Lord of the Rings on Prime?

Amazon confirmed the cast in January 2020 in a thread on its official Twitter page.

Former Game of Thrones star Joseph Mawle has been cast in the series as the show's main villain, Oren, according to Deadline.com

According to Variety, Markella Kavenagh (The Cry) will play a character called Tyra in the fantasy series.

Will Poulter (The Maze Runner), below, is thought to have been cast as young hero Beldor, but he had to exit the project due to scheduling conflicts, Deadline reports.

Check out the casting announcement in full below:

Will Poulter has been cast as young hero Beldor

What will happen in the Lord of the Rings TV series?

The television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding The Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first of three volumes of the epic novel, The Lord of the Rings. 

According to IndieWire.com, there were some rumours that the series would focus on a young Aragorn (portrayed by Viggo Mortensen in the Peter Jackson movies).

But then, the show's official Twitter account showed maps that would've existed long before Aragorn, meaning the series will actually take place during the Second Age of Middle-earth.

According to the same site, the Second Age is most notable for being the time period when Sauron (the titular lord of the rings) created the One Ring to rule all the other Rings of Power.

According to The Guardian, writers on the Amazon series have been refused permission by the Tolkien estate to use the bulk of the book's plot. 

The estate has also reportedly refused to allow the series to be set during any period other than the Second Age, meaning Amazon’s adaptation will not cross over at all with events from the Third Age, which were dramatised in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy.

Who’s behind the camera?

In July 2018, it was announced that writing duo JD Payne and Patrick McKay would develop the series for Amazon, serving as the series’ executive producers and showrunners. 

It was later announced that J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Impossible) has been hired to direct and exec produce the opening block of episodes.

The rest of the creative team behind the series includes producers that have worked on Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad.

Where is it being filmed? 

Amazon confirmed in September 2019 that filming would take place in New Zealand, where the award-winning Peter Jackson movies were shot (below the movie set in Hobbiton, near Matamata, North Island, New Zealand).

Like the Lord of the Rings movies, the series will be filmed on location in New Zealand

Amazon Studios said it had found a great location with world-class sets and skilled staff, reports AP. It said pre-production had already started and production on the series would begin in the city of Auckland over the coming months.

“As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains,” showrunners Payne and McKay wrote in a statement.

Will there be a season 2?

Amazon won the rights to a five-season committment, along with the rights to any spin-off series, in a $250 million rights deal - so yes, expect a season 2, 3, 4 and 5! 

Lord of the Rings will premiere on Amazon Prime Video.