You can’t simply walk into Mordor, but can you buy your way in? When you’re playing with Bezos money, the answer is yes. Here is where a rumored billion dollar budget can get you in Middle Earth, our first full look at Amazon’s Rings of Power series that takes place within Tolkien’s world, several eons before Bilbo Baggins stumbled across that danged ring that caused so many problems.
Amazon and Co. are playing with fire here, and they know it. This series will rely on Tolkien’s encyclopedic appendices for its plot, with far less steady of a narrative map than Peter Jackson had for his classic trilogy. On the one hand, that gives creatives more freedom to pursue their own story ideas. On the other, well …men, above all, desire power.
This is far removed from Jackson’s first trilogy, but it’s still pretty astonishing that he pulled it off. The books had been judged as more or less unadaptable, but Hollywood took a chance on a little-known and very green filmmaker who said he could do it in three movies and then he delivered. The fact that his follow-up Hobbit trilogy is barely remembered is a testament to just what a feat The Lord of the Rings is and how hard that is replicate. Hopefully, Amazon pulls it off here.
The series looks good, and the creators talk about their love of Tolkien’s lore with earnest, nerdy hyperbole. They carry the fate of us all. Trusting the show to writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay is a gamble, as the young writing team only has one previous movie to their credit in (the admittedly underrated) Star Trek: Beyond. But then, Jackson had a pretty slim resume before he convinced New Line Cinema to let him take a crack at Tolkien’s trilogy, and look how that worked out.
The show will star Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman.