Amazon's Lord Of The Rings Series: What We Know So Far

A mysterious figure stands off in the distance in a still image from Amazon's Lord of the Rings series
(Image credit: Amazon)

One does not simply wait for Amazon's Lord of the Rings series to premiere. It's never too soon to get hyped for Amazon's outrageously expensive LOTR prequel series, based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's work before the events of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. There's a lot of room for interpretation, and currently a lot of room for speculation on what exactly the series will cover. So finish your second breakfast and Strider on over to these morsels, then bookmark this beast for more updates for the adventure ahead. Forth Eorlingas!

Cate Blanchett in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord Of The Rings Series Premieres September 2, 2022

Following months of speculation about when viewers would get to go back to Middle Earth, Amazon announced in August 2021 that The Lord of the Rings will make its Prime Video debut on Friday, September 2, 2022. The big reveal was announced just as principal photography wrapped on the show’s first season, which initially kicked off in early 2020 before a predetermined break turned into an extended shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Deadline.

Robert Aramayo on Game of Thrones; Peter Mullan in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1; Morfydd Clark on His Dark Materials

The Lord Of The Rings Cast Includes Robert Aramayo, Peter Mullan, Morfydd Clark And More

One does not simply make a Lord of the Rings show without a cast the size of an army, and Amazon Studios has come prepared for the upcoming fantasy series. With several dozen actors spanning multiple generations and nationalities, the Lord of the Rings cast is one filled with both established stars and the up-and-coming talent. Among the massive ensemble cast are Robert Aramayo (Young Ned Stark on Game of Thrones), Peter Mullan (Corban Yaxley in the Harry Potter franchise), and Morfydd Clark (Sister Clara on His Dark Materials), who will be taking on the role of a young Galadriel.

Sala Baker in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Show Will Be Set In Middle Earth’s Second Age, Thousands Of Years Before The Movies

We won’t be seeing too many characters from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy besides Galadriel and possibly Elron and Sauron (if the rumors are true) in upcoming Amazon series because it will take place in Middle Earth’s Second Age, thousands of years prior to the events of Frodo Baggins’s journey to destroy the One Ring.

When Amazon first announced the Lord of the Rings TV series, the studio revealed the show will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose and fell, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s greatest villain threatened to cover the world in darkness:

On this epic journey, viewers will be taken to the depths of the Misty Mountains, the island kingdom of Númenor, and other magical places on the vast Middle Earth map.

Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lord Of The Rings Season 1 Will Consist Of Eight Episodes

When Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series arrives on Amazon Prime at some point in the very near future, its first season will consist of eight episodes. Although Amazon Studios has revealed the Season 1 episode count, the length of each of those episodes has not yet been disclosed. If we go by other Amazon original series like The Boys, Good Omens, and The Expanse, we can most likely expect each of those episodes to run anywhere from 50 to 60 minutes. Even with eight hours of Middle Earth adventures, the series still won’t be as long as the Lord of the Rings extended versions put together.

The Fellowship of the Ring in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings TV Series Is Directed By J.A. Bayona, Wayne Che Yip And Charlotte Brändström

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Season 1 is directed by a trio of international filmmakers, each with an impressive track record, especially when it comes to the world of fantasy. Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona, who directed The Orphanage, The Impossible, and A Monster Calls before taking on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, directed the first two episodes of Lord of the Rings. British filmmaker Wayne Che Yip, who has long been attached to Doctor Who, is responsible for four episodes in the upcoming Amazon series. Swedish-French director Charlotte Brändström, who has directed episodes of Outlander, Netflix’s The Witcher, and The Outsider, among others, helmed the remaining two chapters of the epic prequel series.

The Lord of the Rings cast in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

J.D. Payne And Patrick McKay Serve As Co-Showrunners On Lord Of The Rings

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has not been shy about saying he wants his streaming service to have its own Game of Thrones, and it's clear he's using a similar playbook for Lord of the Rings. Like the HBO fantasy series, Amazon's Middle Earth epic is being run by a team of two, in this case the writing/showrunning team of J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

Also, Lord of the Rings nabbed Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman as a consultant, after HBO passed on Cogman's Game of Thrones prequel idea. J.A. Bayona also signed on as an executive producer of Amazon's Lord of the Rings series on top of his directing duties. Amazon revealed its full creative team through a full "Fellowship" video in July 2019:

The team Amazon Studios has put in charge of the Lord of the Rings TV series is an impressive lot, one that will certainly make the most of the material, even if Peter Jackson isn’t involved.

Ian Holm in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lord Of The Rings Season 1 Has A Massive $465 Million Budget

As the quality and production value of TV shows continues to grow (especially in the age of streaming), it should come as no surprise that some of these shows are crazy expensive to make. Well, you can add Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series to that list as the first season has a staggering $465 million budget, making it one of the most expensive TV shows of all time. During a May 2021 roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke attributed the massive figure to a combination of world-building efforts and the state of content-buying in Hollywood:

The market is crazy, as you saw with the Knives Out deal. This is a full season of a huge world-building show. The number is a sexy headline or a crazy headline that’s fun to click on, but that is really building the infrastructure of what will sustain the whole series. But it is a crazy world and various people on this Zoom, mostly Bela and me, have been in bidding situations where it starts to go incredibly high. There’s a lot of wooing and we have to make decisions on where we want to stretch and where we want to draw the line. As for how many people need to watch Lord of the Rings? A lot. (Laughs.) A giant, global audience needs to show up to it as appointment television, and we are pretty confident that that will happen.

There Will Be A Lord Of The Rings Season 2 With The Possibility For Even More Middle Earth Action To Follow

We still haven’t seen The Lord of the Rings Season 1, but the series has already been given the go-ahead for a second season. Back in November 2019, Deadline reported that the second chapter of the big-budget fantasy series was already in the works at that time. But there could also be even more adventures set in Middle Earth as part of Amazon’s 2017 deal included a multi-season commitment to a Lord of the Rings series and the possibility of spinoffs. It should be noted that Amazon will have to formally greenlight each of those seasons in the future.

There are still a few other things we don’t yet know about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series, including official images of the characters, a trailer, and some lingering unanswered questions. While we wait, now’s the perfect time to check out all the new and returning shows on the Fall 2021 TV schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.