The return of dragons to the small screen was a huge success. Now it’s time for the elves and dwarves to return, reports the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.
On September 2 Amazon Studios is launching “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” an ambitious, years-in-the-making project with a staggering budget, pitting it against another expensive streaming fantasy epic: HBO’s “Home of the Dragon,” which recently became the most watched series premiere in its history.
The series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”, which starts on Friday on the Amazon Prime Video platform, is considered a personal obsession of multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos – the founder of the online shopping giant Amazon, who turned to streaming.
The Lord of the Rings hopes to destroy dragons
The ambitious adaptation of the universe created by J. RR Tolkien in his novels, began when Amazon Prime Video bought the rights from the heirs of the British author for $250 million five years ago. Tolkien’s grandson, Simon Tolkien, is a creative consultant.
Renewed after only 1 episode aired: This series is a phenomenon
The series will have five seasons, each lasting ten hours.
The action in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place 4,000 years before Peter Jackson’s film trilogy and the original books – during the Second Age, a fictional historical period in Tolkien’s universe about which the writer has given relatively few details.
The cast of the series is relatively unknown worldwide. Morfid Clarke and Robert Aramaio play the young versions of Galadriel and Elrond, characters that fans know well from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. However, viewers will not see other popular characters such as Frodo, Am-gol, Aragorn.
Stanley Kubrick once said that the cult trilogy of J. RR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is impossible to adapt for the cinema. It is difficult to imagine what the legendary director would have thought of the new series with a budget of 1 billion dollars – the most expensive in the history of television, based on dry footnotes published at the end of the third book, notes Agence France-Presse.
The makers of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power intend to capitalize on the still very strong appeal of the books, regularly ranked among the most popular novels of all time, and the Academy Award-winning films that New Zealand director Peter Jackson has managed to create on them.
The series is key for Amazon’s platform, which has joined the “streaming wars” led by Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. The latter recently launched House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones.
Amazon’s latest venture is funded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who is a big fan of Tolkien.
The challenge is truly enormous: the series features characters and their enemies whose existence is barely hinted at or even mentioned in the trilogy and its sequels, while the cast and creators are largely unknown.
“It’s quite stressful because we’re trying to create something big from something that hasn’t been seen before. We want it to be done right,” shared Sofia Nomvet not long ago. The actress plays Princess Disa, the first black dwarf to appear on screen in Tolkien’s world.
Amazon Unveils ‘Rings of Power’ at Comic-Con (VIDEO)
Some characters were even created from scratch for the series.
“The first season is really about introducing the characters and introducing new characters, breathing life into a pretty skeletal world that Tolkien had just created in the Second Age,” explains Maxim Baldry. The young actor takes on the role of Isildur, briefly shown fighting Sauron in a flashback at the beginning of Peter Jackson’s film trilogy.
Series creators Patrick McKay and JD Payne pitched their concept to Amazon in 2017, with only a handful of projects on their resumes at the time.
We wanted to create an imposing Tolkien saga. At Amazon, they were crazy enough in the best sense to say, “Okay, let’s get going,” says Patrick McKay.
Dark Dwarf Princess and More: Lord of the Rings Series First Trailer
At the series premiere in London on Tuesday, Jeff Bezos admitted that “some people have questioned their choice to bring in this relatively unknown team.” “However, we saw something special in him,” said the multi-billionaire quoted by “Variety”.
The reviews so far have been mostly positive. Impressive costumes, sets, special effects and the acting of Morfid Clarke (Galadriel) garnered much praise, although Time magazine “scorched” the show as “full of beautiful images and corny clichés”.
Critics generally opined that the opening episodes were “dazzling” but “clunky”.
“This is TV that was made for big screens but is certainly meant to be watched on smaller ones,” wrote Rebecca Nicholson in her review for the Guardian, giving it four stars. “The show is so cinematic and spectacular that, compared to it, House of the Dragon – the Game of Thrones prequel – looks like it was put together in Minecraft. Now I just need to find someone with a huge TV to let me to watch with him,” adds the critic, quoted by the BBC.
Nicholson, who says she’s willing to overlook some of the “stinky” acting and at times all-or-nothing pacing of the show, however, has made no secret of her immense fascination with Morfid Clarke’s performance as Galadriel.
The Independent also gives this “spectacular return to Middle-earth” four stars.
Empire described the series as “lush and sweeping” that knows “where to put its money”.
Producer Lindsey Webber said at the series’ premiere in Los Angeles in August that the $1 billion budget may be a touchy subject, but people will see that “the money is really on the screen.”
Until Wednesday, two days before the start of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, plot details and reviews were strictly embargoed, and even the actors did not know the fate of their characters.
“I have no idea! I don’t even know what’s going to happen next season,” says Megan Richards, who plays Poppy Proudfellow of the Harfoot race, an ancestor of the hobbits.