When Is Amazon's 'Lord Of The Rings' Series Out?
Amazon Prime's Lord of the Rings series is hotly anticipated as much for its extraordinarily extravagant budget as for its return to Middle Earth. Reportedly, it's going to cost a billion dollars. A billion! $1,000,000,000.
I'm not being funny, right, but a billion dollars – £746,435,000 in sterling – is a lot more money than you think it is. You could get yourself pretty much anything. Seven Eden Hazards? Sure! Well, maybe five or six after you've sunk all that money into your own personal cloning lab.
Anyway, this is everything we know so far about the new Lord of the Rings series:
Who's in it?
Well, we thought Will Poulter was nailed on to star, but according to Variety he's now pulled out citing scheduling conflicts. Nobody else has been confirmed for sure, but names which are reportedly close include Joseph Mawle, better known as Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones, as a villain called Oren, Maxim Baldry from Years and Years, Ema Horvath and relative newcomer Markella Kavenagh.
Plus, in mid-December, Variety reported that Morfydd Clark has been cast as a young incarnation of the glowing forest-dwelling elf Galadriel, who was played in the Jackson trilogy by Cate Blanchett. Clark is set for a very good 2020, as she's the lead in Rose Clark's hotly anticipated British horror St Maud. Her name's pronounced more-fith, by the way.
What's it all about?
We're assuming you know at least the broad strokes of the Lord of the Rings saga as seen in Peter Jackson's trilogy – tiny lad and his gardener sent on a mission by a wizard to destroy a powerful ring which a really evil king-ghost-spirit sort of lives in (?) by throwing it into a volcano, which they eventually do after a lot of faffing about – but none of that will be encroached upon in the Amazon series. Beyond a very broad timeframe and a couple of characters' names we don't know anything much about the story, and Middle Earth's lore is far too big to make any kind of educated guesses.
So when's it set?
Aha, one of the things we do actually know. The Tolkien estate is famously protective of its asset, and would not allow a simple remake of the three books which were turned into Jackson's trilogy. Back in February, Amazon Prime's Lord of the Rings Twitter account tweeted out this map.
Tolkien heads are some of the most intensely detail-orientated heads out there, and they duly noted that the names of regions on there give some big clues as to when the action will happen. Jackson's trilogy happened in the Third Age, which was when the horse-riding region of Rohan got its name. However, on here it's called Calenardhon, and the absence of the regions of Arnor and Gondor suggested this map could be from as early as the Second Age. The Twitter feed then confirmed it.
That's the age when the rings of power were forged, and when the flashback battle scene from the start of The Fellowship of the Ring is set, where Isildur chops Sauron's fingers off.
How on earth is it going to cost a billion dollars?
No idea. Maybe it'll feature Gandalf the Solid Platinum.
Will it be filmed in New Zealand again?
Yes it will. Jackson's trilogy made great use of the mountains of South Island, including Mount Sunday and Nelson Tasman, and Amazon will be heading back there.
Who's involved behind the cameras?
JA Bayona, who directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will direct the first two episodes and executive produce.
"JRR Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team," Deadline reported Bayona as saying. "I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story."
Elsewhere, Game of Thrones' Bryan Cogman will be a consulting producer, writers will include Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill, Justin Doble and Helen Shang.
When is it out?
It's expected to land at some point in 2021.