Lord of the Rings on Amazon: Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel is being turned into a humongous TV series on Amazon Prime Video

When in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings released? What will the TV series be about? And who is in the cast? Everything you need to know.

By Sophia Moir Updated: 7 July 2021 - 5.31pm
Drama Prime Video

Fantasy

Spanish director J.A. Bayona and a map of the locations where Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV series will be set

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

The Lord of the Rings TV series on Amazon is expected to be the most expensive TV series ever made.

Amazon Prime Video are sparing no expense on the adaptation and want the fantasy series to capture the imagination of millions and match the success of Game of Thrones.

Anticipation for the fantasy epic, which is based on the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novels, is palpable. The books remain a phenomenon and the Oscar-winning Peter Jackson movies have raised the bar for what fans expect on the screen.

But what do we know about the story, release date, setting, cast and creators of the new Lord of the Rings? Here’s everything we know so far...

When is Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series released?

Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke

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

Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, has previously said that "2021 is the hope".

Production started on location in New Zealand in 2019, but was delayed like many TV show due to the global pandemic. Filming resumed at the end of 2020.

We shall have to keep our fingers crossed that it’s finished and ready before the end of the year.

Is there a Lord of the Rings TV series trailer?

Not yet. We’ll keep you posted!

Who is in Amazon's Lord of the Rings cast?

Full Amazon Lord of the Rings cast list

The cast includes some recognisable stars such as Lenny Henry and Peter Mullan and a huge ensemble of new talent from around the world.

A long list of confirmed cast members include Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells,​ Geoff Morrell, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.

Peter Mullan is among Amazon Prime Video's massive Lord of the Rings TV series cast

Also confirmed for the series are Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman as announced earlier this year.

Showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said: “The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart. These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. 

“The international cast of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle-earth.”

In July 2021, further new cast members were revealed including Charles Edwards (The Crown), Will Fletcher (The Girl Who Fell), Amelie Child-Villiers (The Machine) and newcomer Beau Cassidy.

What will Amazon's Lord of the Rings be about?

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.

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.

It’' presumed that the series will tackle the forging of the rings of power and the fall of the kingdom of Númenor.

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 making the Lord of the Rings TV series

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 a surprise to see the duo handed the job of looking due to their limited experience. They’ve previously worked in an uncredited role on Star Trek Beyond and involved in drafts of a new Flash Gordon movie and Dwayne Johnson’s new movie Jungle Cruise.

The pair were reportedly recommended to Amazon by JJ Abrams, who worked with them on Star Trek.

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.

 

Charlotte Brändström, who was a director on Netflix’s The Witcher and Jupiter’s Legacy, will direct two episodes.

“I’m very excited to be guided through Middle-earth by J.D.’s and Patrick’s vision and immerse myself in the iconic world of J.R.R. Tolkien,” she said.

“It’s a great privilege to be in New Zealand to work with Amazon Studios’ outstanding ensemble of creative talents.”

British Chinese director Wayne Che Yip has also joined the creative team as a director and co-executive producer.

Yip will direct four episodes.

Yip is best known for his work directing popular genre content including Hunters, Preacher, Utopia (Channel 4) and Doctor Who, and has recently directed episodes of Amazon Studios’ upcoming epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. 

Wayne Che Yip, who is one of the directors and producers for Amazon's new Lord of the Rings TV series Prime Video
Wayne Che Yip

“It is a true honour to be invited into the world of Tolkien by J.D. & Patrick and Amazon Studios,” he said. 

“Every day I look forward to working with the incredible team here in New Zealand as we humbly contribute to the legacy of the greatest stories ever told.”

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

Executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane)

Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones)

Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire)

Sharon Tal Yguado,

Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad)

Jason Cahill (The Sopranos)

Justin Doble (Stranger Things).

Where is Amazon's Lord of the Rings 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. 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, that also is a home to world - class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff. And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” said showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

“We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

Will there be a Lord of the Rings season 2?

Amazon won a massive $250 million bidding war for the rights, which included an agreement to at least five seasons. If it’s a hit, there could be even more than that and the agreement also includes the rights to any spinoffs.

So yes, expect a season 2, 3, 4 and 5!

Lord of the Rings will premiere on Amazon Prime Video.

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