Despite Peter Jackson doing a phenomenal job with the original trilogy, The Hobbit was a letdown for many. So, when Amazon announced it had gotten its hands on Tolkien’s works, many an eyebrow was raised. However, when showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay started out on their journey, they reached out to someone with an intimate knowledge of Tolkien’s world to guide them.
Enter Simon Tolkien, grandson of the Middle-earth creator, himself an accomplished novelist who holds invaluable insight into his grandfather’s work. If Payne and McKay are Hobbits setting out on an adventure, then Tolkien is Gandalf, knowledgeable of the landscape, and able to help steer the team in the right direction when needed.
The showrunners revealed to Entertainment Weekly that his guidance has been invaluable to the show, offering assistance with the storylines and helping to develop character arcs.
“The first time we met Simon Tolkien, we had to pinch ourselves — here we were, sitting across the table from the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien himself. And that was only the beginning of what has proven to be an extremely enriching and rewarding dialogue. His insights, attention to detail and passion for both the characters and the overall architecture of The Rings of Power are woven throughout the pages of our story. Working with Simon has been the experience of a lifetime.”
Of working on this latest adaption, he said that he’s “enjoyed assisting Amazon Studios in connection with the series, and in particular providing input to JD Payne and Patrick McKay on matters including my grandfather’s original writing.”
The show will not be a direct continuation of The Lord of the Rings, but instead looks at the history of Middle-earth as written by Tolkien in the appendices. The show will be set thousands of years before Bilbo Baggins set of on his adventure, looking at the Second Age, a period that started in peace and saw the forging of the Rings of Power, Sauron’s initial rise to power, and the collapse of Númenor, a once powerful island kingdom of men.
Fans have already been treated to what’s in store with some first looks footage and marketing images, but with the show making its way to Comic-con this month, there is doubtless more to be revealed before The Rings of Power lands on Amazon Prime on September 2.