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For anyone wondering what a £850m windfall could bring, streaming service Amazon may have the answer – but only time will tell if the biggest gamble in their 28-year history pays off.
With nearly a billion spent on visual effects, casting, costumes and location shoots, the highly anticipated Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power – a prequel to Peter Jackson’s hugely popular film franchise – will launch on September 1. the most expensive TV show of all time.
It will usher in a Middle-earth set more than 2,000 years before Frodo Baggins’ legendary journey from The Shire, with a new set of characters inhabiting a world eons before the relatively civilized environments described in author JRR Tolkien’s novel. 1937, The Hobbit and his subsequent Lord Of The Rings trilogy – The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers and Return Of The King.
In contrast to the broad landscape of source material looted by Jackson in his film adaptations of Tolkien’s work, producers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have created a potentially — and highly ambitious — five-season program based entirely on the original appendices and footnotes of the author.
Coming soon: For anyone wondering what a £850m windfall could buy, streaming service Amazon may have the answer – but only time will tell if the biggest gamble in their 28-year history pays off
Quite a challenge, but with a massive outlay from Jeff Bezos-run Amazon — whose decision to own the book rights alone cost a whopping $250 million — the previously unseen second age of Middle Earth has been lovingly recreated, and with it the introduction of darker Lord Sauron and the forging of the Rings Of Power.
But what else can fans expect from a series on which the future of a multi-billion dollar company may depend? Well, not much in terms of fame – with Sir Lenny Henry the only instantly recognizable actor among a cast of comparative unknowns.
The actor and comedian, whose career began five decades ago in the custard-fueled anarchist Tiswas studio, will play Sadoc Burrows, a Harfoot elder described by Henry as “the traditional Tolkien little . . . the little people in this world offer comedy but also to be incredibly brave”.
He will be joined by a cast hoping to establish themselves as household names in the coming weeks – including Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Númenor Queen Regent Míriel, Robert Aramayo as the half-Elven Elrond and Owain Arthur as Dwarven Prince Durin IV.
Everything changes: It will usher in a Middle-earth set more than 2,000 years before the legendary journey of Frodo Baggins from The Shire, with a new set of characters inhabiting a world centuries before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings took place
Galloping to success? In contrast to the broad landscape of source material looted by Peter Jackson in his film adaptations of Tolkien’s work, producers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have crafted a five-season series based entirely on the author’s original appendices and footnotes ( pictured: Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Lloyd Owen as Elendil)
Morfydd Clark takes another more significant role on the show, playing Elven warrior Galadriel, and she admits it gave her the chance to discover stunts that show her character’s strength behind the backdrop of a historically male-dominated society.
She told Press Association: “Gender just isn’t the same in Middle-earth because I’m playing a character who can physically knock down any man around her. It was really interesting to try to embody someone with a tremendous amount of physical strength.”
Co-executive producer Patrick McKay said Tolkien has had “some of the best female characters in literature” and Galadriel was one of the first characters the creators thought of for the new story.
“It was a real pleasure to imagine what her world was like and what she was struggling with based on clues in the text,” he explained.
Exciting: The hour-long episodes are reportedly filled with action and humor, but the first 50 hours will be used to explore the show’s nuanced characters and complex history (Photo: Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Charlie Vickers as Halbrand)
The old enemy: There will be a lot of Orcs in the new series, but at £850 million is it too big a gamble for Amazon owned by Jeff Bezos?
New star: Spanish actor hopes to make a name for himself as the half-Elven Elrond (pictured) in Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power
The series is based, albeit loosely, on Tolkien’s writings and asides about Middle-earth’s Second Age, which preceded the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films and books of the third century, with the late author’s grandson, Simon Tolkien. , who serves as a creative advisor.
“We say Tolkien left a string of stars in the sky. Our job was to connect the dots to form the constellation and then draw in between the constellations to give it a little more specificity,” said showrunner and executive producer Payne.
The hour-long episodes are believed to be action-packed and humorous, but Payne and McKay plan to use a 50-hour canvas to explore their nuanced characters and complex histories, with the first eight episodes acting as a sort of serving as an aperitif.
Early episodes shift across the various regions of Middle-Earth, our planet’s imagined mythological past. Here, elves are involved in royal intrigue, mine dwarves in mountains, hobbit-like harfoots live pastoral lives, and humans seem unusually prone to violence.
Despite being set centuries before the books and movies that make up the Tolkiens canon, fans of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ will notice some familiar characters based on the longevity of some creatures, including Galadriel, Elrond, and Isildur. . Sauron, the evil force, is unseen in the first two episodes, but is evil throughout.