‘LOTR: The Rings of Power’ showrunners reveal the biggest change they’re making to the story

Image via Amazon Studios / The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

While a lot of fans are positively stoked about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, many have also raised concerns about the inevitable changes Amazon might make to Tolkien’s established lore. Well, according to what the executive producers have revealed in Vanity Fair‘s extensive feature on the series, their biggest hurdle so far has been the issue of time.

Because even though the events of The Lord of the Rings only take one year to unfold, the history of this world comprises a rich and expansive narrative that spans more than nine thousand years. Amazon’s new adaptation happens somewhere in between, detailing the destruction and havoc Sauron leaves in his wake through the Second Age of Middle-earth.

The tale behind the Rings of Power and the fall of Númenor is also centuries in the telling. That’s why the writers have had to condense the narrative into a much shorter timeline. As showrunner J.D. Payne explains it:

“We talked with the Tolkien estate,” He said. “If you are true to the exact letter of the law, you are going to be telling a story in which your human characters are dying off every season because you’re jumping 200 years in time, and then you’re not meeting really big, important canon characters until season four. Look, there might be some fans who want us to do a documentary of Middle-earth, but we’re going to tell one story that unites all these things.”

That’s as compelling an argument as any we’ve ever heard, but it still might not sit well with a lot of fans because it basically means the writers are warping the history of the legendarium to fit their narrative.

All things considered, though, I don’t suppose there are any other ways around this time barrier unless you’re willing to introduce a new batch of protagonists at the start of every season, which sounds ludicrously counterproductive, to say the least.