Lord of the Rings Series

We here at Rabbit Reviews, and when I say we, I mean me, are huge Tolkien fans, an incredibly intelligent man who wrote series of books that created a magical world, so strange and exotic and yet eerily familiar. If you haven’t read the books and think that movies did them justice, you are right, but should still check out the books because they offer a different viewpoint and vibe. And they are still current after all these years, even too current if I might add, with all this chaos that’s happening in our world. After all, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.

This being said, it’s so strange that the first adaption was released in 1978 in the form of an animated movie of the same name. Actually, this movie prompted Peter Jackson to read the books and consider adapting them into a full-blown live-action movie. All in all, six movies have grossed over $5.78 billion worldwide, so it’s pretty logical that we will be seeing another adaptation so soon after the last one. The first trilogy was released in a period between 2001 and 2003, with The Hobbit, a prequel trilogy, being released in a period between 2012 and 2014. Both trilogies were hugely successful, with the original still holding higher ratings than The Hobbit adaptation that suffered from numerous production problems. Peter Jackson will not be involved with the series, although he may serve some sort of an advisory role.

So, what do we know so far? The Lord of the Rings television show will be a prequel to existing movies, borrowing some elements from an already established franchise. The whole thing kicked off in 2017 when Amazon won the rights to the television show based on the LOTR books, outbidding Netflix and HBO. Game of Thrones proved to be hugely successful and this was proof of concept for Amazon that desperately needed a headliner for its network, with HBO continuously producing phenomenal and critically acclaimed television shows and Netflix doing the about the same but for younger generations. The price tag was pretty hefty, $250 million just for the rights with the budget of the television show consisting of five seasons being set at one billion dollars. Same as the original trilogy, this is a huge project with record-breaking numbers and we are only starting to see glimpses of it. The final number will undoubtedly be much higher, especially when you add the fact that the spin-off series is confirmed (please let it be a sitcom with Witch-King of Angmar). However, when you divide that number with the number of seasons and episodes, the cost per episode rounds off somewhere around $16 million. For comparison, episodes in the last, eighth season of Game of Thrones were around $15 million, so this number of one billion dollars for the budget is more of a gimmick than anything else.

I also have to mention Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon and one of the wealthiest people on the planet Earth. He was personally involved in changes being made in Amazon’s entertainment division and basically saved The Expanse, a show that was canceled by SyFy after people wrote to Bezos in an effort to continue watching this phenomenal science fiction series. His company is one of the most disgusting examples of capitalist disregard for anything humane and benevolent. Money is all that matters and with Bezos and his net worth of over $90 billion dollars, this is all too apparent. So, how should we feel about all this, considering that this is surely just another attempt of equity diversification and humanization of the corporate entity? Should we say that he needs to divert that one billion dollars into better working conditions for his workers and restructuring of this evil capitalistic wheel that grinds people up (did someone say Danny)? My opinion is that we should be just aware of it, without further action. This is not the battleground and it’s not his fault that people do not want to think. After all, the original LOTR movie trilogy was produced by none other by infamous Harvey Weinstein. But, I digress, let’s get back to the series.

We are still very early into the production of the show so not many things are known about it. First of all, we have no idea about the casting, script or set locations, although New Zealand is a pretty sure bet. There were a lot of rumors about young Aragorn and his rise, but this was all dispelled by the official twitter account of the show that placed the storyline during The Second Age. This means that Aragorn and most of our favorite characters from the books and movies are not born yet, with the exception of few. We’ll start with Gandalf, who’s over 7000 years old and Ian McKellen hinted that he might appear in the series. Next in line is Elrond, masterfully portrayed by Hugo Weaving, who, at this point, still claims that he knows nothing about his casting and that no one talked to him about it. This might be due to the NDA clause, so fingers crossed. And finally, we have Galadriel, portrayed by Cate Blanchett, who could also reprise her role, but there’s nothing to report here, also.

So, what could be the storyline, considering that we now know it is indeed happening during The Second Age? Well, the age started with the banishment of Morgoth into the Void and ended with Sauron’s defeat by the alliance of Men and Elves in the Battle of Dagorlad. If you remember the first movie, and I’m sure you do, that battle is depicted in the intro. The age lasted for 3441 years and there are so many interesting origin stories here (Sauron, Forging of the One Ring, Ringwraiths) that any one of them could be part of the plot or spin-off series. If I was a betting man (and I am), I would bet that the series would probably open with the Morgoth’s fall and then transition into the build-up for the final battle with Sauron or focus on the forging of the One Ring, with the subsequent fall of its bearers and their transition into Ringwraiths. Of course, all this is speculation based on a series of maps, so we will have to wait for official confirmation. You can further explore these maps on the official Amazon page.

The release date is currently set at 2021, with 2022 looking like a more likely year, considering just how huge and complex projects like this are. I mean, for fuck’s sake, The Hobbit prequel trilogy was supposed to be directed by Guillermo del Toro, who worked for two years on the movies and then quit. That being said, I also have to mention that Peter Jackson started his work on the original trilogy in 1997 with the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring released four years later, in December of 2001. I doubt that Amazon will be able to work through these issues, no matter how much money they throw at this. Especially when you consider that most of the crew that was announced, did not work on a project of this size.

Finally, let’s talk about the crew that’s currently working on this project. Two guys listed as creators of the show are Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, who previously worked on Star Trek Beyond, a watchable entry for this new, updated Star Trek franchise. Apart from their writing credits for this movie, they have not worked on other projects and this would be a bit worrying, if we didn’t have the third man. And that man is none other than Bryan Cogman, one of the Game of Thrones writers. Patrick and John have another project lined up and that’s the latest reboot of Flash Gordon (Flash ooooohh aaaahhhh), directed by none other than Julius Avery, a promising young director, with some phenomenal movies behind him (Overlord, Son of a Gun). Peter Jackson will not be involved with the series, although he may offer some advice, same as Simon Tolkien, the grandson of mythology creator J.R.R. Tolkien.

And this is everything we know so far, I will update this page as the new details start appearing, until you can follow the official twitter account of the series: The Lord of the Rings on Prime as well as their Instagram account: lotronprime.