The Lord of the Rings is being positioned as Amazon Prime Video’s biggest original series to date. According to Deadline, the company paid a whopping $250 million alone to acquire the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal fantasy series and has reportedly committed $1 billion to the project over a proposed five seasons. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself, a massive Tolkien fan, was even involved in the negotiations personally.
While little is known about the series beyond vague story details, it is clear that it will be keeping a respectful distance from Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Despite that, at least one of the old cast members has expressed frustration with one aspect of the forthcoming series.
What will Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ be about?
Despite the name, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings will not be another adaptation of Tolkien’s classic trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Rather, it will be set in the “Second Age” of Middle-Earth, thousands of years before the events covered in the books and movies.
The Second Age is largely characterized by a war between the many races of Middle-earth and Morgoth. Morgoth is essentially the Middle-earth equivalent of Satan, having been exiled by Eru Ilúvatar, the almighty creator of Tolkien’s mythology, for his arrogance.
Sauron, the iconic villain of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was initially a general in Morgoth’s army. The Second Age is considered to end with his defeat by the armies of Men and Elves, as depicted in flashback in The Fellowship of the Ring.
The Amazon series is presumed to be broadly telling the story of this war with Morgoth, giving it plenty of grand material to work with while keeping a respectable distance from the beloved books and films. The cast is largely made up of younger unknowns, with British actor Robert Aramayo said to be the nominal lead. Morfydd Clark will play a young Galadriel, the only confirmed instance so far of a character from the films making an appearance in the show.
Elijah Wood takes issue with the show’s name
Elijah Wood entered into Hollywood legend forever when he played Frodo, a humble Hobbit and the main character of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In a recent interview with Empire Magazine, via SlashFilm, Wood, a fan himself well-versed in Tolkien’s work, expressed frustration with one big aspect of the Amazon series: its name.
“I find it bizarre that they’re calling it Lord Of The Rings as a shorthand, because it’s not Lord Of The Rings!” Wood said. “It takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth. I am fascinated by what they’re doing with the show. They’re calling it The Lord Of The Rings, but I think that’s slightly misleading. From what I understand, the material they are working on exists chronologically further back in history in lore of Lord Of The Rings or Middle Earth than any characters represented in Lord Of The Rings.”
It’s certainly a fair issue from Wood’s perspective. It’s also, however, understandable why Amazon wants to use one of the most iconic titles of time for a series it plans to spend over $1 billion on. Also, the stories that the show will cover aren’t really covered in a single book whose title can be borrowed, they’re scattered throughout many different stories, appendices, and encyclopedias. It might be best to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt in this instance.