Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Is A ‘Mega Epic’ That Recontextualizes The Franchise

Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Is A ‘Mega Epic’ That Recontextualizes The Franchise

If The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power does its job, it might make Peter Jackson’s movies look like Mad Max. In a way. The upcoming show took over Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday to yes, debut a new trailer, but also explain a bit more of what the show is about, and what the intentions of its creators are.

“In the Third Age, Middle-Earth is post apocalyptic,” co-showrunner Patrick McKay said. “All of these kingdoms have fallen. The elves are on their way out the door. In the Second Age, Middle-Earth is vibrant. Filled with life…On the show, we’re meeting a very different Middle-Earth than you saw in the movies.”

That’s the biggest thing McKay and fellow showrunner J.D. Payne wanted fans to get out of their presentation. That yes, this is Lord of the Rings. Yes, there are some characters you know. But just because it’s a prequel series doesn’t mean it can’t be just as sweeping and epic as the Oscar-winning films. In fact, they have even more room to tell stories, cause they’ve committed to 50 hours of television over five seasons.

“For this first season we want to reintroduce Middle-Earth,” McKay said. “We’re thousands of years before the Third Age. The societies and kingdoms and peoples are very different. The world is in a different state and Gandalf says, in the Shadow of the Past, ‘After a defeat and a respite, a shadow grows again in a new form,’ roughly. And that’s what this story is about this season. It’s about reintroducing this world and the return of evil.”

Moderator Stephen Colbert talked to showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay, producer Lindsey Weber and composer Bear McCreary in Hall H at Comic-Con. (Photo: Kevin Winter, Getty Images)

For an idea of what kind of events audiences will see in the show, you need only look at the first 10 minutes of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Take that prologue and really deepen it and fill it out.

“We felt that the Second Age was freaking awesome,” McKay said. “It’s Tolkien’s amazing untold story [and] is so iconic. The forging of the Rings of Power. The rise of the dark lord Sauron. The rise and fall of Tolkien’s Atlantis, the greatest kingdom of men ever created, Númenor, and then, finally, the last alliance of elves and men to come together and defeat Sauron. Well, almost defeat. The ring survives so evil can continue to another age.”

“But that story struck us as one that could really live up to and match the grandeur of what we knew the canvas was,” he concluded. “A 50-hour story from the beginning. If we’re going to tell 50 hours of story, we really want to make it worth it. Just as fans and viewers and lovers of Middle-Earth and Tolkien, we didn’t want to do a side thing. A spinoff or the origin story of something else. We wanted to find a huge Tolkienian mega epic, and Amazon were wonderfully crazy enough to say ‘Yes, let’s do that.’”

That mega epic begins on September 2 when The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuts on Prime Video.

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