Amazon Studios has been quiet for a while regarding its epic Lord of the Rings series. So quiet, it's like the fantasy world's fans were worried it had been delayed or tanked by the pandemic. The streamer just got off the stick, though, and now we have some idea as to just how incredible J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy world will look on screen and we know exactly when the first episode will premiere.
First off, this is no rehash of the Peter Jackson movies. The synopsis—released in January—makes that clear. Here it is in full:
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.
Same song, very different verse. If the story is set "thousands of years" prior to the events in Tolkien's main saga, that means the characters that return are likely the ones that are canonically immortal in the LOTR world: Mostly elves, such as Galadriel (played by a luminous Cate Blanchett in the movies) and perhaps Elrond (Hugo Weaving in the Jackson films, one of his rare good guy roles).
What is this "first look" a look at? Much nerdier publications are digging into Tolkien's voluminous writings about his world to figure it out. Paste Magazine has the best guess, and it's still a shot in the dark:
[The] full description of the series name-checks various locations, such as the Western elven capital of Lindon, and the glorious human island kingdom of Númenor, although we would speculate that the latter might be even bigger and more impressive than this.
The really interesting thing, though—which you can see in more clarity by clicking the photo below—is the clear outline of two giant, luminous trees on the horizon, which seem to clearly correlate with the two lost Trees of Valinor, the original source of all light and beauty in Tolkien’s universe.
This doesn’t make a lot of sense in terms of when the series is occurring—the Second Age of Middle Earth is long after the death of the two Trees of Valinor, but perhaps this might be a flashback of some kind to Valinor itself? Anything is possible.
Given that it's only in a studio's best interests to tease fans into obsessing over what has been called its most expensive production ever, the chances we'll end up with a lot of definitive info about this new dive into the worlds of The Lord of the Rings prior to its actual premiere are low, without some major leaks from the sets or studio.
This, however, does appear definitive: Amazon Studios' Lord of the Rings series is set to premiere on the streaming service on September 2, 2022. New episodes will drop every week after that.
Sure, it's one year and about a month away, but mark that calendar now.