Since 2001, the fantasy adventures found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books have unfolded on the silver screen, introducing us to a sprawling world ravaged by a constant battle between darkness and light. Six interconnected stories and big-budget films later, Tolkien’s timeless narrative is headed to the small screen — but is bringing all of the magic along with it.
As seen in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Rings, Tolkien’s storyline centered on the trouble brewing on Middle-earth as a consequence of the One Ring, a powerful ring forged by Dark Lord Sauron so that he could control everyone in the realm. For the rest of The Lord of the Rings series (The Hobbit prequel movies included), fans watched the beings of Middle-earth fight other malevolent creatures, ring in tow.
In Amazon Prime’s take on The Lord of the Rings, we’re headed back to Middle-earth, but many of the characters we got to know and love won’t actually be part of this story. The series is said to take place thousands of years before the events of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films in what Tolkien calls the Second Age. While we don’t know exactly what the plot of the Prime series will be, the streamer’s recently shared first look at the show hints at a major spoiler.
The still shared by Amazon Prime shows a stunning Middle-earth (read: New Zealand) landscape featuring an elegantly dressed being overlooking the sights: an enormous castle and what appear to be the Trees of Valinor. Fans familiar with Tolkien's universe may immediately recognize the scene to be taking place in the frequently but never-depicted paradise of Valinor, the place where the archangels made their residence after the world was brought into existence.
Valinor making an appearance in the upcoming project further helps pin down possible plot points, but not by much. Amazon Prime and showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are keeping the details super low-key to drum up as much excitement for The Lord of the Rings series as possible. What you can be certain of, however, is that there will be a lot of magic, and that the whole production will be very beautiful. We also know who's going to star in the series — the cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, and Ismael Cruz Córdova among many others.
It'll be some time before The Lord of the Rings hits Amazon Prime — the series is set for a September 2022 release — but given the stories from this great literal work, there's something epic waiting for us on the other side.