Today was a massive day for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. This fan base has been eating so well for years, feasting on the trilogy that Peter Jackson delivered to them, then transitioning with the filmmaker to The Hobbit, which he also turned into a three-part saga. Readers and viewers have been awaiting details on the yet-to-be-titled Amazon Original The Lord of the Rings television series, and now we have an official release date, because filming on season one officially has wrapped.
Amazon announced today that the Lord of the Rings series will premiere Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. New episodes of the program will be made available weekly. While the plot synopsis is light as of now, Amazon revealed in a press release:
The new epic drama brings to screens for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. Beginning in a time of relative peace, thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.
The ensemble cast for this untitled Lord of the Rings series is stacked, and is listed below, in alphabetical order: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, had this to say about this massive endeavor the Amazon:
I can’t express enough just how excited we all are to take our global audience on a new and epic journey through Middle-earth! Our talented producers, cast, creative, and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”
Investment is the proper term for Lord of the Rings over at Amazon. The first season of the series is reportedly going to include 20 episodes, and it cost Amazon a staggering $650 million in production costs. As we noted, that’s in New Zealand dollars, but it still amounts to roughly $450 million in US coin. Amazon better hope there’s a return on that investment.
Who can tell, though? The major streaming services tend not to share streaming data unless it’s positive for the company (ask WB how the Snyder Cut of Justice League did on HBO Max), so Amazon can keep mum if LOTR doesn’t connect with a massive audience, as hoped. But just daring to bring back this beloved series, in any new format, has to be thrilling for the cast and the creators, so we’ll wait -- more than a year!! -- to see what they have put together.