Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series, due to be released in 2021, has got many people of a geeky affliction very excited indeed. With many disappointed with The Hobbit films, there is real hope that the upcoming Middle-Earth series will be something that the Lord of the Rings fandom can really love. However, there have been lots of rumours, information, and gossip regarding Amazon’s upcoming take on Tolkien’s work. Rumours such as Aragorn being in the story and “is Peter Jackson involved?” have made any Lord of the Rings series predictions difficult. So, I’ve done my best to compile what we know and hopefully from that we can muse over some informed Amazon Lord of the Rings predictions. This article will have mild spoilers but for anyone that has any familiarity with the Lord of the Rings or the backstory of Middle-Earth, then most of the article should hopefully be familiar.
What do we know currently about the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show?
In July 2017, Amazon acquired the television rights to create a show around Lord of the Rings for almost $250 million. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, originally gave Amazon Studios the task of creating a TV show that was comparable in scale to Game of Thrones and was heavily involved in negotiations with the Tolkien Estate.
Amazon is committed to five Lord of the Rings series on their streaming service, Amazon Prime, with the potential for spin-offs and it is thought that the Amazon Lord of the Rings show is likely to cost over $1 billion. In January, Amazon issued a list of cast members confirmed for the show. Amazon has also worked with illustrator John Howe to create a map for the series, which is key to our Amazon Lord of the Rings predictions later.
The Tolkien Estate has only allowed the use of The Lord of the Rings books and its appendices, so the content of The Silmarillion is off-limits. They are, however, allowed to create their own material for the series, as long as it follows the story and doesn’t contradict what Tolkien has written. This is similar to Games Workshop’s rights with regards to making miniatures for the Lord of the Rings films, as they are allowed to work with the appendices and create characters in order to flesh out their tabletop game.
The Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show is confirmed as being set in the Second Age of Middle-Earth, which puts the series in the time frame of 3,019 to 6,460 years before Frodo (or rather Gollum) destroyed the One Ring. The visuals will be consistent with the Lord of the Rings film franchise, but Peter Jackson is set to have very little involvement outside of reading scripts and offering advice.
What conclusions can we draw from the facts about the Amazon Lord of the Rings show?
Other than the fact that it is confirmed by Amazon that the show will be set in the Second Age, we can draw this conclusion ourselves from two places. The first is that the Tolkien Estate withheld the rights to the First Age (which contains the creation of the world and the struggles of the early Elves and Men against Sauron’s old boss, Morgoth) and The Silmarillion. The rights to the Third Age are firmly in the paws of Middle-earth Enterprises, the company that has facilitated the creation of pretty much all of the current Lord of the Rings adaptations, be they films, games or toys. This only leaves the Fourth Age (which only has everyone’s happy ending after the Ring is destroyed, a bit boring for a TV show I’d say) and the Second Age, which has more than enough content to sustain a Lord of the Rings show.
The second place we can see that the Amazon Lord of the Rings show will be in the Second Age is the glorious map that we have. Númenor is clearly shown on the bottom-left of the map. Númenor was not in Middle-Earth in the First Age and, without giving too much away, isn’t in Middle-Earth in the Third Age. It’s also thanks to this map that my prediction is that the show timeframe will try to span ALL of the Second Age. There are five pictures of the same map that at first glance look like they just have less and less names on them as you go through. However, the first map does not show Rivendell (Elrond’s home) or Barad-dûr (Sauron’s big tower), so the map image shows us that events before these two were created, must be shown, so we will get the creation of the Rings of Power and the settlement of Númenor.
On the second map image, Rivendell and Barad-dûr are now there, but we also see that Minas Anor (which later becomes Minas Tirith) and Osgiliath have also been included. These are not created until after Númenor (which is missing from this version of the map) gets a little…soggy. These two versions of the Amazon Lord of the Rings Middle-Earth map show nearly the entire span of the Second Age.
My Amazon Lord of the Rings Predictions
I predict that the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show will span the entirety of the Second Age and have three separate “points of view” running concurrently, in the same manner as Game of Thrones or The Witcher which all had different characters and areas explored at the same time. This is a format people are familiar with and events running concurrently in the Lord of the Rings Second Age story affect each other, so they would have to show everything at the same time. The focus of the story would be with different races each season I think though, as I’ll explain in the next few paragraphs.
The first viewpoint will be the Elves. Considering Galadriel is the only character that has a confirmed actor chosen for her (set to be played by the wonderful Morfydd Clark), I think it’s likely that we will follow her, as well as Elrond (considering we are familiar with him and he is very involved with the last high king of the Elves, Gil-galad), and Celebrimbor (who created the three Elven Rings). We will see the creation of the Rings of Power, Celebrimbor’s discovery of Sauron’s treachery and the fallout from this in the early couple of series, before shifting focus to viewpoint number two, Men.
It will be difficult to show the lives of men next to that of the Elves, considering that men die naturally, and Elves are immortal. So, I predict in the first couple of series we shall see the formation of Númenor from the viewpoint of Elros (Elrond’s mortal brother and the first King of Númenor), but the focus will predominantly be on the Elves. Then we would fast forward towards the end of the Second Age and the viewpoint will focus on men. Specifically, Elendil and his sons, Isildur and Anárion (Isildur being the ancestor of Aragorn). In these series, we will see the downfall and corruption of the Númenor with political shenanigans, again similar to Game of Thrones. The final couple of series we shall see the Elves and Men joining forces to combat the rising power of Sauron.
The reason why I don’t think much of the timeline will be shown between these series is because there were 25 kings of Númenor, spanning 3319 years. You would never get attached to characters or run a concurrent story if you tried to show all of this within the five series committed. My prediction is that there will be a Lord of the Rings prologue style introduction when we transition to the later stages of the Second Age.
The third viewpoint will be Sauron and his tomfoolery will connect the entire thing together. We won’t see him as a big, nasty monster in armour like he is in the Lord of the Rings films until later on in the series though. To start with, he could change his form to seem fair and wise, so he was trusted by many elves and they were happy to learn new skills from him. We will then see his rising power, the establishment of Mordor and then the manipulation of the kingdom of Númenor as he sows dissent and rebellion into their hearts. Eventually, the story will be drawn to its conclusion with his defence of Mordor against the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
Amazon Lord of the Rings Predictions: Final Thoughts
I cannot wait for the Amazon Lord of the Rings series to be released on Amazon Prime, I believe it will be a real draw for many people to join the service considering the devotion of the Lord of the Rings fanbase. The predictions I have made are very early, though I believe I am fairly close to the mark. Nevertheless, I am sure that Amazon will have much greater minds than mine (which really isn’t that difficult to be fair) working on the show, so who knows what is to come. How do you think the show will be formatted and what sort of things do you think will be included? One thing is beyond all doubt, the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show will be huge.
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