The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an American fantasy television series based on the novel The Lord of the Rings and its appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Developed by showrunners J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay for the streaming service Amazon Prime Video, the series is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
It is produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, and in consultation with the Tolkien Estate.
Amazon bought the television rights for The Lord of the Rings in November 2017, making a five-season production commitment worth at least US$1 billion.
This would make it the most expensive television series ever made.
Payne and McKay were hired in July 2018.
The series is primarily based on the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, which include discussion of the Second Age, and Tolkien’s grandson Simon Tolkien was consulted on the development of the series.
Per the requirements of Amazon’s deal with the Tolkien Estate, it is not a continuation of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies.
Despite this, the production intended to evoke the films using similar production design, younger versions of characters from the films, and a main theme by Howard Shore, who composed the music for both trilogies.
Bear McCreary composed the series score.
A large international cast was hired, and filming for the eight-episode first season took place in New Zealand, where the films were produced, from February 2020 to August 2021 (with a production break for the COVID-19 pandemic).
Amazon moved production for future seasons to the United Kingdom, where filming for the second season began on October 3, 2022.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered on September 1, 2022, with the first two episodes, which Amazon stated had the most viewers for a Prime Video premiere.
The rest of the eight-episode first season ran until October 14.
It has received generally positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for its cinematography, visuals and musical score, but some criticism for its pacing and characterization.
Set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the series is based on author J. R. R. Tolkien‘s history of Middle-earth.
It begins during a time of relative peace and covers all the major events of Middle-earth’s Second Age: the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the fall of the island kingdom of Númenor, and the last alliance between Elves and Men.
These events take place over thousands of years in Tolkien’s original stories, but are condensed for the series.