Lord of the Rings on Amazon Prime: release date, cast, plot and what we know so far

Asia's Tech News Daily

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series isn’t out for another nine months, but we’re finally starting to get some more key information about it. The show will land on Amazon Prime Video in late 2022 and, until then, we’ll be waiting for official news (and reading up on rumors) about many aspects of the show.

While we wait, there have been a few snippets of news that have revealed a couple of interesting tidbits about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings. The most notable of these information drops relate to two of the series’ characters and, given how little Amazon has given away about its sizable cast, they’re intriguing to say the least.

We’ve also learned about why Will Poulter departed the project, as well as where the show’s second season will be filmed in the UK. You’ll have to read on to find out more about that, though.

But what else do we know about Lord of the Rings on Amazon, aside from the fact that it’ll focus on the Second Age of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary book series?

Below, we’ve provided a detailed look at everything that we know so far about Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings season 1. That includes its official release date, all-star cast, potential plot points, villains, other tie-in movies or shows and more.

We may be diving into possible spoiler territory from this point on. So if you’d prefer to watch Lord of the Rings on Amazon Prime Video with little knowledge going into it, you’ll want to turn back now.

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Amazon’s Lord of the Rings in brief

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Amazon’s TV adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth book series.
  • Where can I watch it? Amazon Prime Video.
  • When will it be released? September 2, 2022.
  • What did Amazon pay for Lord of the Rings? $250 million for the rights alone – and that’s before you enter production.
  • Are the Lord of the Rings movies on Amazon Prime? Yes.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings release date

Lord of the Rings on Amazon release date: September 2022

(Image credit: New Line Cinema / WingNut Films)

After what feels like an almighty wait, season 1 of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings has a release date – but it’ll be a long time before it lands on our TV, laptop or phone screens.

The Lord of the Rings TV show won’t arrive on Amazon Prime Video until September 2, 2022. It’s disappointing we won’t see it sooner but, given how lengthy its production has been, that’s unsurprising.

The announcement was made on the series’ official Twitter account, which also gave us a first-look image to pour over:

On September 2, 2022, a new journey begins. pic.twitter.com/9tnR7WqDoAAugust 2, 2021

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Lord of the Rings season 1’s episodes will be released weekly, too, so don’t expect to be able to binge watch it over a single weekend.

Filming on season 1 officially wrapped on Tuesday, August 3. There’s the possibility that pick ups may be required, depending on how specific episodes are edited. For now, though, the show’s cast and crew have departed New Zealand for a well-earned break.

That’s a wrap! Thank you to our amazing cast and crew and to New Zealand for being the incredible place we have been privileged to call home as we bring the Second Age and Middle-earth to life. #LOTRonPrime (1/8)August 3, 2021

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Speaking of New Zealand, season 2 of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings will be filmed in the UK instead of the Kiwi nation.

Per Variety, Amazon Studios TV co-head Albert Cheng revealed that principal photography would begin on British shores in the first half of 2022. Variety has since reported that Bray Film Studios and Bovingdon Airfield, in Berkshire and Hertfordshire respectively, will initially be used for shooting season 2. Filming is expected to begin in the second half of 2022.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings cast

Lord of the Rings on Amazon cast: who is playing who?

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

A series on this scale needs a huge cast, and Amazon’s Lord of the Rings ensemble is absolutely stacked. There are 39 actors, according to the official casting page and, while we largely don’t have confirmation on who is portraying who, we have some ideas based on various inside sources.

According to Variety, Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud) has been cast as young Galadriel. Lord of the Rings fans will know that the powerful elf was played by Cate Blanchett in the film trilogy. As this series is set during the Second Age, though, Galadriel will be younger than her movie counterpart.

Another role that we’re fairly certain of is Simon Merrells. According to the actor’s biography page on the Warring and McKenna management agency website, Merrells (Good Omens) will be playing an original character called Trevyn.

Lenny Henry (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) has confirmed that he’s playing a Harfoot – one of three breeds of hobbits in Lord of the Rings – in a BBC Sounds interview, but didn’t reveal his character’s name.

There are also rumors surrounding the identities of other actors’ roles.

Robert Aramayo, who played a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, is believed to have replaced Will Poulter as Beldor, one of the TV show’s main heroes (per Deadline). Speaking to GQ, Poulter explained that he had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict, adding: “As an actor, you’re very used to things not going your way and having to adapt accordingly. I’m more used to things not going my way. So I just had to shake that one off.”

The Hollywood Reporter has claimed that Markella Kavenagh (The Cry) had signed on to play a character called Tyra, while Deadline has suggested that Lloyd Owen (Monarch of the Glen) would portray someone known as Loda.

Joseph Mawle, who played Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones, is also thought to have been cast as the series antagonist Adar (h/t Deadline). However, it’s unclear if this character has ties to Sauron – more on him later – or if he’ll be a supporting villain.

Regarding Kip Chapman’s character, the Fellowship of Fans Twitter fan account alleges that the Westside actor is portraying someone called Selin. A Discovery of Witches’ Trystan Gravelle recently gave us a hint at his character’s potential look for the show, but we’re not sure who this individual is yet.

Thrilled to welcome them to the @LOTRonPrime family! https://t.co/Medxxvz07NJuly 1, 2021

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Finally, The Fellowship of Fans Twitter account also claims that Owain Arthur will play an “important Dwarven character”. They’ve since suggested that Arthur is playing King Durin, but haven’t disclosed which King Durin will appear in the show. It might be Durin III, as he’s alive during the Second Age, but we’ll have for official confirmation on this front:

EXCLUSIVE: Owain Arthur (who we previously reported as being a major dwarf) is now revealed to be playing “Durin” in #LOTRonPrimeHowever, which Durin he is playing is currently unknown. He is said to have “gold feet” and the Dwarf throne is said to be “massive”.1/6 pic.twitter.com/wrHzqK1f9ENovember 21, 2021

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There are other key Second Age players, including elven High King Gil-galad, elven smith Celebrimbor, and Numenorian King Elendil, who haven’t had their castings revealed yet. Hopefully, we’ll get official confirmation on which actors will portray them soon.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings story

Lord of the Rings on Amazon plot: what is the story about?

In January 2021, TheOneRing.net revealed Amazon Studios’ official synopsis for the series:

Our servers haven’t crashed & burned like this since 2003, so here’s the official show synopsis for Amazon’s LORD OF THE RINGS series. 📺 #LOTRonPrime pic.twitter.com/O9k0Q8VkuzJanuary 13, 2021

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The synopsis doesn’t give much away, but it’s enough to go on for now.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings will be set during Middle-Earth’s Second Age, which lasted for nearly 3,500 years and ended with Sauron’s defeat thanks to the alliance between men and elves. This is the battle that opened Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, so it’s possible that we may see this adapted again at some point in Amazon’s series.

However, that is some way off if it does appear. There’s plenty of Middle-Earth history that Amazon’s Lord of the Rings could cover, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be seeing live-action debuts for new areas of Tolkien’s world in the TV show, such as Numenor and Lindon.

It sounds like we’ll be seeing one of those locations on screen, too. According to the Fellowship of Fans Twitter account, leaked set reports have suggested that Numenorian guilds (weapons dealers, food traders and more) will be part of the show. In a separate Twitter thread, the same fan group also claimed that we’ll see some Dwarven locations in season 1, particularly in the first two episodes.

Interestingly, Lenny Henry also told BBC Sounds that another of Tolkien’s books – The Silmarillion – may be adapted in some part for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings.

“It’s a brand new set of adventures that seed some of the origins of different characters and it’s going to take at least ten years to tell the story,” Henry says. “Because it’s based on “The Silmarillion” which was almost like a cheat-sheet for what happens next in this world in the Second and Third Ages.”

Could we see characters or plot elements from this book used in the show? Given that The Silmarillion covers aspects of the Second and Third Ages, it’s entirely possible. While we wait for more news on the story front, though, we’ve also seen a map of what Middle-Earth looked like during the Second Age:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. #LOTRonPrime pic.twitter.com/7TuQh7gRPDMarch 7, 2019

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With Amazon focusing on the Second Age, we might see how Sauron returns and almost ends up ruling over Middle-Earth. The Lord of the Rings’ big bad has a huge role in how this era plays out, so we can expect to see his rise to power again and the eons-spanning fallout after he tries to enslave men, dwarves, and elves with the Rings of Power.

Another element of Amazon’s adaptation is that it could be more adult than some fans have envisaged. According to TheOneRing.net, Amazon hired a well-known New Zealand intimacy coordinator – Jennifer Ward-Lealand – back in October 2020.

It’s unclear what level of intimacy Ward-Lealand has been brought on board for, but some Tolkien fans have already voiced their displeasure over Ward-Lealand’s hiring. Why? Well, intimacy – as an industry term – usually refers to nudity or sex scenes. Think along the lines of HBO’s adaptation of Game of Thrones and you’ll be on the right track.

If, and it’s a big if as we don’t know Amazon’s plan for its adaptation, nudity is a part of the company’s Lord of the Rings series, you can expect it to receive a high age rating when it finally airs.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings cost

Lord of the Rings on Amazon cost: how much will it be to make?

(Image credit: New Line Cinema / WingNut FIlms)

Amazon bought the rights to the Lord of the Rings TV show for $250 million in November 2017 (h/t Deadline). If Amazon completes its reported five-season run, it’ll be expected that the entire production will have cost $1 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This would make Amazon’s Lord of the Rings the most expensive series of all-time.

That $1 billion mark is moving closer to reality, if not more, too. As New Zealand-based publication Stuff revealed, season 1 will reportedly cost $650m New Zealand dollars to produce. Converting that into US dollars, season 1 is valued over $465 million.

However, Amazon Studios had a portion of its production costs knocked off the bill by the New Zealand government. Reuters reported that Amazon received an extra five per cent from the nation’s Screen Production Grant due to the jobs and work it generated for the country’s economy. This meant that Amazon Studios was eligible to receive a rebate of NZ$162 million (US$116 million) from the New Zealand government – funds that reduced Amazon’s financial outlay for season 1.

That reduction in costs won’t be carried over when production moves to the UK, but the British government also offers financial incentives for movies and TV shows to be shot on UK soil. Amazon can expect, then, to receive some form of reimbursement.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings crew

Lord of the Rings on Amazon crew: who is involved?

(Image credit: Amazon)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and A Monster Calls director J.A. Bayona is leading production on the show, while J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have been on board since July 2018 (h/t The Hollywood Reporter) to write and co-executively produce the show.

Other executive producers include Bayona, Lindsay Weber, Callum Greene, Jason Cahill, and Gennifer Hutchinson. Kate Hawley led costume design on the series, while concept artist John Howe – one the film’s chief conceptual designers – was also part of the crew.

Bayona directed the series’ first two instalments, including the pilot episode. Hunters director Wayne Che Yip has directed four of season 1’s eight episodes, while Charlotte Brändström (The Witcher, Jupiter’s Legacy) helmed the final two entries.

One person who hasn’t returned for Amazon’s adaptation is Peter Jackson. The director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies had been tapped by Amazon, but ultimately declined to be involved.

Finally, Howard Shore – who scored all six Lord of the Rings movies – appears to be set to return to Middle Earth for the third time.

In January 2021, Shore spoke to TechRadar entertainment reporter Tom Power (during his freelance days) for Observer.com, revealing that he hadn’t been contacted by scoring the show but “would consider it” if asked.

Now, Deadline is reporting that Shore has held talks with Amazon Studios about penning the music for its TV adaptation. Here’s hoping that an agreement can be reached as Shore would be the perfect fit for it.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings tie-ins

Lord of the Rings on Amazon: will The War of the Rohirrim movie tie into it?

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Animation Studio)

No. Amazon’s Lord of the Rings is set centuries before The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim, so don’t expect there to be any crossover between these events.

For those who may have missed this announcement: a while ago, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Animation is developing a Lord of the Rings anime movie.

Focusing on the history of Helm’s Deep, the legendary Rohan stronghold that was the scene for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ massive battle, War of the Rohirrim will tell the tale of King Helm Hammerhand, whose reign is remembered for a long and costly war that occurred during his time on the throne.

Anime filmmaker Kenji Kamiyama, who has helmed Netflix’s Ultraman series among other projects, will direct War of the Rohirrim, which will supposedly tie into the six main Lord of the Rings films.

However, given that King Hammerhand’s reign took place around 260 years before Lord of the Rings’ main events, it won’t be linked to Amazon’s TV series. The latter is set during Middle Earth’s Second Age, so it’ll precede events in War of the Rohirrim.

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