Everything to Know About Prime Video’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Prequel Series

Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings Return of the King
New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

When it comes to filmed versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterwork The Lord of the Rings, audiences’ appetites remain strong. So, consider this prequel series “second breakfast” for fans of the epic novels and director Peter Jackson’s equally transporting Oscar winners. Here’s a taste of the journey ahead.

Who Is Involved?

First-time showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (no pressure!) are at the helm of the adventure series, the title of which remains hush-hush. The large international cast—who play new and familiar Middle-earth characters that are also yet to be announced—includes Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones young Ned Stark), Arrow’s Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Owain Arthur and Nazanin Boniadi.

When Does It Take Place?

The drama is set during the fabled Second Age, a 3,441-year period that falls before hero Hobbit Frodo’s adventure begins in The Fellowship of the Ring. That said, superfans noted the first photo released appears to show the distinctive twin trees that existed in Valinor in the First Age. At that time, young Gandalf, then known as Olórin, frequented that land.…

Where Will It Be?

An evil villain, theorized to be Sauron or Morgoth, reemerges to threaten Middle-earth. We’ll see deep within the Misty Mountains, the elf capital of Lindon and its woods, and the island kingdom of Númenor—all shot in New Zealand, as Jackson’s big-screen trilogy was. “We knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forest and mountains,” the showrunners have said.

How Much Did It Cost?

The series, which will roll out weekly, is estimated to have the biggest budget in TV history—a whopping $465 million for Season 1 alone. And future episodes are a shire thing: Season 2 begins production early this year, with Amazon having reportedly committed to at least three more after that.

Untitled Lord of the Rings Series, Premiere, Friday, September 2, Prime Video

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2022 Preview issue. For more inside scoop on what’s coming to TV and streaming in the new year, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, January 13.