One Comic-Con recap post to rule them all.
If y’all know anything about me, Allie, the human person writing this post, it’s that I’m a massive The Lord of the Rings fan. It’s most of my personality, TBH.
So you can’t even begin to imagine my excitement when BuzzFeed reported from inside Hall H on Friday morning at Comic-Con for Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power panel, which had all kinds of news — including a new trailer.
So, here’s absolutely everything we learned about Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
First things first, the panel was moderated by surprise guest and J.R.R. Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert, who appeared just as excited to be there as the 6,000+ fans in Hall H.
Also, as noted by Stephen, Prime Video offered him the opportunity to watch the entire first season before moderating the panel, but he declined, as he hoped to “discover, along with you and everybody else, what part of the known story is going to be told and how the implied world is going to be explored.”
While the original The Lord of the Rings trilogy took place during the Third Age of Middle Earth, this series will take place during the Second Age of Middle Earth — thousands of years before the events of the original trilogy.
The series will draw its material primarily from the extensive appendices from Tolkien’s original work, patching together characters and plot points from the Second Age and delving deeper into those unknown stories, with Stephen noting, “[The appendices] were very important to Tolkien, he wanted to create … a complete work of art created on the backdrop of a mythical, undiscovered culture.”
The show is led by showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who’ve been working on this concept with Prime Video for four and a half years and who both, very clearly, love the source material.
J.D. said of his love of the source material, “I came to the party through the [Peter] Jackson films, then I did the deep dive on the books, The Silmarillion, the unfinished tales, the whole nine yards, and I fell in love to the point that Lord of the Rings became a part of my personal canon, not just of literature, but in life. … Tolkien speaks the language of the soul.”
And these two always wanted to tell the story of the Second Age, with J.D. saying, “The field was wide open. Amazon bought the rights to basically 10,000 years of Middle Earth history and then said, ‘All right guys, let’s take all comers and see what they have to say.’ And we felt that the Second Age is freakin’ awesome, and Tolkien’s amazing untold story is so iconic. It’s the forging of the rings of power. It’s the rise of the dark lord, Sauron. It’s the rise and fall of Tolkien’s Atlantis, the greatest kingdom of men ever created, Númenor. And then finally, the last alliance of elves and men to come together and defeat Sauron — well, almost defeat.”
Patrick also assured the audience they’d never thought of doing anything else, stating, “Just as fans and as viewers and as lovers of Middle Earth and Tolkien, we didn’t want to do a side thing or a spinoff or the origin story of something else. We wanted to find a huge Tolkienian mega-epic and Amazon was wonderfully crazy enough to say, ‘Yes, let’s do that,'” with J.D. then cutting in to add, “Guys, no B.S., they let us make the show we want to make.”
The TV show will span a pre-planned five — yes, FIVE — seasons, with the showrunners stating, “It was going to be a 50-hour story from the beginning.”
They attempted to use practical effects and on-set locations whenever possible, with producer Lindsey Weber saying, “We built as much as any group of humans could. … We had this brain trust to help us bring this place to life and we built it from the ground up. The water and all that stuff, some of it is coastlines and locations that New Zealand graciously provided us, but it was a lot. And then, of course, our visual effects team filled in the rest.”
The music for the series was composed by Bear McCreary, and he stated that the inspiration for the sound was “the legacy of Howard Shore.”
(Also, side note but not really: Bear, as well as his orchestra, performed the theme for the series at the panel live for the crowd, and I fully cried at an event I was supposed to be covering as a professional, so there’s that.)
When it comes to the races of Middle Earth depicted in characters on the show, the showrunners promise they plan to “take dwarves seriously.” They said, “Dwarves are often just the butt of jokes. … They’re a really cool culture with their own mythology, spirituality, and we think there’s cool things to be done with dwarves.”
Also, in the trailer, those characters aren’t hobbits you’re seeing…they’re harfoots, who (in this series) act as nomadic ancestors to hobbits.
And speaking of characters, they auditioned “thousands” of people for the massive cast of the show from “all over the world,” saying they looked for two specific criteria when casting: “Are they a great performer … and do they have Middle Earth in them?”
Now, let’s get to the big character reveals, because y’all…there were a whole lot! TBH, it was most of the panel! I’ll go down the line and reveal them as Stephen did — oh! And they all also got super-cool character posters! Ready? I sure hope so! Here we go:
Robert Aramayo is Elrond:
Benjamin Walker is High King Gil-galad:
Charles Edwards is Celebrimbor:
Owain Arthur is Prince Durin IV:
Sophia Nomvete is Princess Disa:
Ismael Cruz Córdova is Arondir:
Nazanin Boniadi is Bronwyn:
Tyroe Muhafidin is Theo:
Megan Richards is Poppy Proudfellow:
Dylan Smith is Largo Brandyfoot:
Sara Zwangobani is Marigold Brandyfoot
Markella Kavenagh is Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot:
Sir Lenny Henry is Sadoc Burrows
Daniel Weyman is The Stranger:
Morfydd Clark is Galadriel:
Charlie Vickers is Halbrand:
Cynthia Addai-Robinson is Queen Regent Míriel:
Trystan Gravelle is Pharazôn:
Lloyd Owen is Elendil:
Ema Horvath is Eärien:
Maxim Baldry is Isildur:
Finally, Leon Wadham is Kemen:
And last but not least, the panel ended with a Q&A in which the showrunners and producers were asked if they would commit, right now, to giving Stephen Colbert a role in Season 2 — which caused Hall H to erupt in cheers and J.D. and Patrick to answer with a resounding “YES.” Stephen even signed a piece of paper, so you know it’s legally binding!
There you have it! How excited are you for Prime Video’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series? Share all of your thoughts in the comments below!