Before you know it, we'll be heading into the fall season and fans will be getting ready to check out Amazon and Showrunners J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay's upcoming prequel series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in all its epic glory. With the series set to premiere this September, McKay is sharing some details with Empire on how they approach being compared to Peter Jackson's films as well as those other fantasy shows out there (btw… Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon will also be out around the same time).
So How Do You Live Up to Jackson's Films? You Don't…: "Anyone approaching 'Lord Of The Rings' on screen would be wrong not to think about how wonderfully right Jackson got so much of it. But we're admirers from afar, that's it. 'The Rings Of Power' doesn't try to compete with him," McKay explained (LOTR: TROP is set during the Second Age, and not the Third Age like Jackon's works).
McKay Shares Key Difference Between LOTR and other Fantasy Properties (like "Game of Thrones"): "You can psych yourself out in keeping up with the Joneses, but one of the mantras on this was 'go back to the source material'. What would Tolkien do?" McKay offered, before revealing the "secret weapon" that elevates them above the others. "Some of these other competing properties – they play one octave really beautifully. But Tolkien was playing every note on the piano. He had that variety of tones. There's the whimsy, friendship, and humour that Harry Potter is so beloved for – but there's sophistication, politics, history, mythology, and depth, too. So for us, it was about going deeper into what we are, rather than worrying about what other folks are doing," he added.
"This is a title that we imagine could live on the spine of a book next to Tolkien's other classics. 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 Payne & McKay when the title of the highly-anticipated series was first announced. "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." With a new age beginning on September 2nd, begin your journey to Middle-earth with the following title announcement video (and series overview) for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
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.
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 re-emergence 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.
The new stories will take place prior to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring" and look to focus on the "Second Age" – a time when the Rings of Power were first revealed. "J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan, it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team. I can't wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story," explained Bayona at the time the news was announced.
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, Daniel Weyman, Maxim Baldry, Lenny Henry, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Benjamin Walker, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Simon Merrells, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Geoff Morrell, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Sara Zwangobani, Charles Edwards, Will Fletcher, Amelie Child-Villiers, Beau Cassidy, and Tyroe Muhafidin star.
Amazon's Lord of the Rings series' creative team line-up includes Amazon's ex-genre head Sharon Tal Yguado as well as Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Tal Yguado, writer/executive producer Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad); writer/executive producer Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), writer/executive producer Justin Doble (Stranger Things), consulting producer Stephany Folsom, producer Ron Ames, writer, and co-producer Helen Shang, and writing consultant Glenise Mullins. Bayona will executive produce alongside partner Belén Atienza. Payne and McKay are developing the series and serving as showrunners, with Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) serving as a consultant. Bayona is set to direct the first two episodes. Amazon Studios produces, in conjunction with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.