On Edge: Anticipating Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV Series

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With Game of Thrones’ eight season run coming to a close this summer, perhaps the time has come for a new fantasy show to take its place… Perhaps a Lord of the Rings series by Amazon? Well you’re in luck, as with a rumoured five series of the show already planned to be released, there’s plenty of Tolkien content coming our way.

Initially announced in 2018, the series was rumored to be focusing on the adventures of Aragorn (played by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the novel) before the events of Lord of the Rings, during his time in the armies of Gondor and Rohan under the pseudonym “Thorongil”. Yet the official Twitter account (@LOTRonPrime) gradually announced sections of a map of Middle-Earth over the course of several weeks, adding a new piece every 3, then 7, then 9, and finally 1 days after – a nod to the poem of the ring from the novels. On this final day, March 7th 2019, the Twitter page welcomed fans “to the Second Age”, the 3441 year period before the events of Fellowship of the Ring.

(As someone who’s been a fan of the books since I was younger, and love a good map, I may have reacted with immense joy … in public.)

However, not everyone seemed to think this announcement of a Lord of the Rings series was a good idea, with fans of the franchise giving more negative reactions to the news. With the lack of success with the Hobbit trilogy released between 2012 and 2014, and suggestions on executive meddling that led to some confusing additions to the plot, there is some hesitation as to whether the Amazon series is merely just people behind the scenes profiting off it’s popularity. Interestingly, the debate extends into the cast members of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. While Ian McKellen has already announced his interest in returning as Gandalf if he was ever asked, John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) has expressed his concerns about the series merely being about “making more money”.

With the series already costing a rumoured $1 billion, it’s going to be the most expensive television show in history. Accompanied by the release of an adaptation of The Witcher to grace competitor Netflix sometime in late 2019 (starring Henry Cavil as protagonist Geralt), it’s clear to see that big companies are fully embracing this trend towards fantasy shows, and literary adaptations. And it’s clear there’s a fan interest out there, as people were genuinely disappointed when the announcement of an adaptation of Tolkien’s published novel The Silmarillion was merely an April Fool’s joke.

But where does this leave the rest of TV? Does the rush to commission more big-budget shows like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings see shows with a smaller budget and smaller fanbase left in the dust? Big budgets don’t always mean big success. Marvel-owned shows like Jessica Jones had relatively short life spans before they were axed, while earlier series of Doctor Who had minimal budgets, but the show is still running over 50 years on. As of April 2019, there is no hint towards a possible release date, so fans need to sit tight for announcements.

Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings‘ TV Show will debut sometime in the next couple of years.

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Culture Editor 2019/20 Second year archaeology & history student who loves archery and Assassin's Creed.

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