Many Lord of the Rings fans would jump at the opportunity to tell you that Tolkien included an extensive appendix to the third book, The Return of the King, that serves as something of a prequel to the epic fantasy story. While that history would not be complete, or make a whole lot of sense, until The Silmarillion came out in 1977 — more than two decades after the trilogy — it seems that’s where Amazon has sailed its creative ship, so to speak, in the trial to bring the world of Middle-earth back to live-action.
Indeed, we already knew that The Rings of Power would only be able to adapt the material found in the appendices, since that’s the deal Amazon struck with the Tolkien Estate in 2017, but it seems like showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay treasured even that brief history when they came onboard with their pitch.
According to what they said in an interview with Time magazine, “Tolkien had left the stars. They just needed to make constellations” out of them. “We beat out people they would have felt more comfortable giving it to because this was the show,” McKay said.
The Rings of Power is set to chronicle the history of the Second Age, involving the creation of the titular rings, the downfall of Númenor, and the War of the Last Alliance, which ended with Isildur cutting off Sauron’s fingers and defeating the Enemy. In essence, The Rings of Power is trying to expand Peter Jackson’s 5-minute prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring into five seasons of television, or 40 episodes, to be more precise.
The first episode of this new adaptation is making its slow way to Prime Video on Sep. 2.