Abigail Yarrison ’24, Managing Editor

Source: IndieWire

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Arguably one of best fantasy writers of all time. A legend in the field of linguistics, and the creator of worlds. His works inspired the 6 movies we know today as the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. With the direction of Peter Jackson and the notorious skills of actors like Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, and Martin Freeman, the 6 movies combine for an astounding total of 18 Oscar wins (The Return of the King holds 11 of those Oscars!).

Until recently the adventure stopped there, but in in November 2017, Amazon signed a $250 million deal announcing a five season Lord of the Rings television show. Production, which started in February 2020, was delayed due to COVID. It resumed in September and we can expect season one by the end of 2021.

The first thought of many a Lord of the Rings fan is that one does not simply remake such classic films. Living up to the glory of the first movies would be a daunting feat. Fortunately for J.A Bayona, who is directing the first two episodes of the series, the pressure is off. This TV series boasts an entirely new plot, setting, and time frame. It will take place during the Second Age of Middle Earth, before the events of both the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

For any Tolkien nerd like myself, we know that this means we will be seeing scenes from the Silmarillion, a history of the creation of Middle Earth and the chaos that followed. The Silmarillion is a posthumously published, lesser known, and notoriously more difficult work of Tolkien’s. For anyone who’s read it, we know it’s 365 pages of hardcore historical confusion. But it also contains beautiful stories of gods, men, elves, betrayal, love, and war. It’s long been thought that the Silmarillion would make an incredible basis for a movie, and here we are with one better. The actual synopsis of the TV show was not disclosed until recently. Amazon released a summary which reveals nothing but suggests everything:

This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of thread, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.

Personally, I’m hoping to see Beren and Lúthien, the Romeo and Juliet of Middle Earth, make an appearance in the plot. One of the greatest love stories of all time, the lovers not only conquer enemy squabbles but death itself. Some of the most important events in the Silmarillion are resolved in part by the actions of Beren and Lúthien, so maybe we’ll see their romance as a center for the storyline.

The show is being filmed in New Zealand, where both the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were filmed, so we can expect similar jaw dropping scenery. The mountains and plains of New Zealand will stage locations like the island kingdom Númenor, and the elf realm of Lindon. Not only are new locations introduced but also new faces. Stars like Robert Aramayo from Game of Thrones and Maxim Baldry from Doctor Who are confirmed leads. Supporting actors and actresses include Tom Budge, Ismael Cruz Córdova, and Markella Kavenagh. Morfydd Clark from St. Maud is said to be playing a younger version of Galadriel, the powerful elf queen from Lothlorien.

Many of our originally beloved actors have confirmed that they will not be rejoining the cast of Middle Earth this time. Although we won’t see Orlando Bloom or John Rhys-Davies, Elijah Wood, the face of Frodo, has requested a cameo in the new TV series, and Ian McKellen was adamant that no other actor should play Gandalf. Will we meet these iconic faces again in Amazon’s series? Only time will tell.