‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ EP reveals which Tolkien books they can use

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

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunners have recently revealed a ton of details about the upcoming series in an extensive feature on Vanity Fair, including information on the deal between Amazon Studios and the Tolkien Estate.

When Amazon announced in 2017 that they’d reached an agreement with J.R.R. Tolkien’s family to develop a television series based on The Lord of the Rings, the nature of the deal and what it encompassed remained in a shroud of ambiguity. Even now, fans aren’t entirely sure just how much Amazon has wiggle room when it comes to the world of Middle-earth.

Well, executive producer J.D. Payne is here to clear up the confusion once and for all. As he simply put it:

“We have the rights solely to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the appendices, and The Hobbit,” He said. “And that is it. We do not have the rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, or any of those other books.”

That doesn’t leave the production crew with much leeway, especially since they’re adapting the stories of the Second Age, whereas The Lord of the Rings trilogy solely takes place at the end of the Third Age.

All Amazon Studios has to go on right now is mostly in the appendices of book three, though co-producer Patrick McKay is confident that there’s enough in there to tell a compelling narrative set in that time period.

“There’s a version of everything we need for the Second Age in the books we have the rights to,” McKay noted. “As long as we’re painting within those lines and not egregiously contradicting something we don’t have the rights to, there’s a lot of leeway and room to dramatize and tell some of the best stories that [Tolkien] ever came up with.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is currently slated for a Sep. 2 premiere on Amazon Prime Video.