Game of Thrones is over, but if Amazon has its way, people’s appetites for quality fantasy TV won’t go unfed for long. It’s mounting two major fantasy shows: an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s massive The Wheel of Time books, and a series set in Middle-earth, the world dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
I know a lot of people have been calling this “Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show,” and it is that, but it’s also kind of misleading, because the series isn’t going to actually adapt Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books. For that, I direct you to Peter Jackson’s film trilogy starring Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, which still holds up today despite coming out in the early 2000s.
For his part, Wood isn’t involved in the new series, but is as interested as anyone to see how it all plays out. “I know as much as anybody else knows,” he told Inverse at the Tribeca Film Festival. “I’m gonna watch with a great deal of curiosity to see what they’re gonna do and how they’ll do it.”
It’s not going to be Lord of the Rings. It sounds like it’s going to be well before the timeline. It’s going to be the Second Age rather than the Third Age, which is Hobbit–Lord of the Rings time. But who knows? I’m fascinated.
Indeed, the show will be set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, when the elves were more numerous, a lot of human beings were living on a sacred isle called Númenor, and Sauron was busy forging the rings of power that will eventually cause so much trouble for everyone.
Tolkien did write about some of the events that defined the Second Age, but we still don’t know how much or little the show will actually intersect with them. As a whole, the show is moving a little slower than Amazon’s The Wheel of Time series, which is already in the thick of production. Still, we know the cast for the Lord of the Rings show, and expect the cameras to start rolling very soon. I guess when you spend $250 million on the TV rights alone, to say nothing of how much will be spent on the actual production, you want to make sure you have everything right before moving ahead.
As for when the series will actually come out, I wouldn’t hold your breath for anything earlier than late 2021, and probably 2022.