You might be inclined to believe that Amazon is just developing The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to compete with other fantasy shows for the Game of Thrones crown of the most popular television series in the world — and you wouldn’t be far off the mark with that reasoning — but so far as the show’s creators Patrick McKay and JD Payne are concerned, this wasn’t just an excuse to resurrect Middle-earth due to its popularity.
In fact, according to what they tell Empire Magazine in its extensive new profile on the most expensive television series ever produced, they’ve spent years coming up with a complete narrative for The Rings of Power, all the way up to the final shot of the last episode.
“We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be,” Payne said. “The rights that Amazon bought were for a 50-hour show. They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas – this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until season 5.”
That’s a reassuring thought about the prospects of this new adaptation, which has already caused a lot of gatekeeping in the Tolkien fandom. The author himself once wrote that “not all who wander are lost,” but none of the fans would’ve felt comfortable if the showrunners aimlessly meandered in the dark and came up with the story as they went along.
The Rings of Power is set several thousand years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and depicts how Sauron the Deceiver rose to power after the banishment of his commander, Morgoth the Black Foe of the World. At some point, the narrative is expected to get into Sauron’s manipulation of Númenóreans into rising up against the Valar, which culminates in their destruction at the hands of Eru Ilúvatar, the creator of the world.
As its name suggests, the series will eventually reveal how the rings of power were forged, presumably ending in the War of the Last Alliance that comprised the first few moments of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Prime Video come Sep. 2.