Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' Series Will Take Place During the Second Age. Here's What That Means.

From Esquire
In 2017, Amazon Originals hit the news when it acquired the worldwide rights to a TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings for a cool $ 250 million. The modern day films of Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson and adapted from the popular novels by JRR Tolkien, are some of the most profitable and award-winning films of all time. They collect 2.9 billion US dollars at the worldwide box office and receive 15 Oscar prizes (out) from a total of 30 nominations). The importance of Tolkien's novels cannot be underestimated. They are final works of the fantasy about power, courage and loss, mythopoeic masterpieces, to which the introduction of the genre into modernity is ascribed.
In September 2019, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Amazon will be shooting its series in New Zealand, where the Jackson films were made famous (and where Lord of the Rings fans drive over $ 27 million annually in tourism). Here's everything we know about the series so far.
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What is the series about?
A new official table of contents from Amazon confirms key details of the global series, including its discontinuation. The table of contents reads in full:
The upcoming series from Amazon Studios brings the hero legends of the fabled second age of Middle-earth history to screens for the first time. This epic drama takes place thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will transport viewers back to a time when great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell into ruin, improbable heroes were tried, hope was hung by the finest strings, and the greatest villain, the ever flowed from Tolkien's pen, threatened to cover the whole world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble of familiar and new characters who face the long-feared reappearance of evil in Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains to the majestic forests of the elven capital Lindon, the breathtaking island realm of Númenor to the farthest points of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that will live on long after they're gone.
When Amazon released a map of Middle-earth as a teaser over the series entitled "Welcome to the Second Age" last summer, it revealed a crucial clue to the plot that is confirmed in this roundup. The history of Middle-earth is divided into four ages. You probably know best the Third Age, in the final years of which the Lord of the Rings takes place. The second age sees the rise and (temporary) defeat of Sauron, the great villain from the original films. The reference in the official synopsis to "the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien's pen" almost confirms an appearance by Sauron, while the mention of Númenor suggests a plot familiar to fans of the novels.
Fans have speculated that Amazon will tell Tolkien's epic story of the fall of Númenor, as it has decided to release a map that prominently features the island of Númenor. During the second age, men of Elvish heritage settled the island of Númenor, where they became great sailors. The Númenoreans lived in days of peace and glory until they fell under the rule of Sauron, who promised them the eternal life they desired from the elves in return for their help in his war against the gods. As a punishment, the gods turned the once flat earth into a globe. The ocean subsumed Númenor and drowned everyone on the island except Sauron. The surviving Númenoreans, protected on their ships, fled to Middle-earth, where they founded Gondor and spawned a long line of kings, one of which would one day include Aragorn.
Photo credit: Moviestore / Shutterstock
Will characters from the movies reappear?
Given that the series is set in the second age, we can expect Amazon to cast a number of well-known characters. The chief among them is Sauron, whose greed, evil and hunger for absolute power shaped the development of the second age. Also ready to return is Elrond, Lord of Imladris, a relative of the Númenorean kings and chief leader of the last alliance between elves and men. Amazon has also confirmed the return of Galadriel, Elrond's sister-in-law, who owned a Ring of Power and had great knowledge of Sauron's nefarious dealings. The mention of the elven capital Lindon in the synopsis suggests that we can visit Galadriel in her homeworld.
What has young Aragorn got to do with anything?
Early reports on the series speculated that it would follow the adventures of young Aragorn, whose path before his introduction to The Fellowship of the Ring was long and winding. However, when Amazon tweeted "Welcome to the Second Age," which happened thousands of years before Aragorn was born, speculation was exposed.
Is Peter Jackson involved?
As soon as news broke about the purchase of the rights by Amazon, fans speculated about the possible involvement of Peter Jackson. At first, Jackson explained that he wasn't involved at all and said, "I understand how my name might come up, but nothing happens to me on this project." Jackson later changed his mind and said, "I think they'll send us some scripts to see if we can help them. I wish them all the best, and if we can help them we will definitely try. That is a big job. "
Who is on the series?
Three main characters have been announced: Will Poulter (Black Mirror, Midsommar) will appear as Beldor, a "veteran fighter"; Markella Kavengeh (Picnic at Hanging Rock) will play Tyra, a "sensitive" person who is likely an elf. and Joseph Mawle (Uncle Benjen of Game of Thrones) will appear as Oren, the main villain. It's worth noting that none of these characters are Tolkien characters - all of them are new, original characters.
As for the creative brain trust behind the series, showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who together wrote and produced films like Star Trek: Beyond, Jungle Cruise and Escape. Game of Thrones alum Bryan Cogman has since signed up as a consulting producer. Amazon also has J.A. Bayona (director of Jurassic Park: Fallen World) directs the first two episodes.
Photo credit: Getty Images
What does it mean that the series is filmed in New Zealand?
In a joint statement, showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay said, “When we were looking for the place to bring the pristine beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth to life, we knew we had to find a majestic place with pristine coastlines , Forests and mountains, which are also home to top-notch sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftsmen and other staff. “New Zealand is also home to the hilltop village The Shire, but we won't see that in a Second Age story. Since hobbits didn't arrive in Middle-earth and colonize the Shire until the third age, don't expect Baggins ancestors in this series.
With production costs reportedly staggering $ 1 billion, making it the most expensive television show in history, Amazon is saving no money. The decision to return to New Zealand promises continuity to fans of the Peter Jackson films as well as a hint of speculation over a Fall of Numenor plot. Jackson's films didn't spend much time in coastal locations as regions like Gondor, Rohan, and Mordor are all inland. However, when Payne and McKay mention "pristine coastlines" it is reminiscent of coastal towns like Numenor.
How many seasons will there be?
An odd glimpse of Amazon's deal with the Tolkien estate was a long-term commitment: to secure the rights, Amazon had to agree to produce five seasons of the series and begin production within two years of signing the deal.
Although Amazon is contractually obliged to produce five seasons, it ordered a second season before production even started in the first season. Since the first season of the show is still in pre-production, Amazon plans to shoot the first two episodes of the first season in early 2020 and then take a four to five month break, presumably with Payne and McKay sketching the plot architecture for the second season. You can also switch to a schedule of simultaneous filming of seasons 1 and 2 so that the production can avoid filming during a frosty New Zealand winter.
When will it be broadcast?
A broadcast date has not yet been announced, despite promising news that production resumed in New Zealand after the country declared itself coronavirus-free. 93 international crew members and 20 of their family members have been allowed to return to New Zealand to join the show's pre-production process, although filming in studios across Auckland has not yet started. What this means for the show's release date remains to be seen, although it is safe to say that this development will give the show an edge over productions in the United States, where the film and television industries are largely stalling. Check out this section for updates as we continue learning.
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In this article
Peter Jackson
J. R. R. Tolkien

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