Between homage and renewal, the series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power must find the way to success. These creators return to the challenge represented by this adaptation of the most masterful work of fantasy.
Attacking a monument of literature like The Lord of the Rings is no small feat. Tolkien’s stories have marked generations of readers, fantasy lovers in search of epic moments and magic. For Amazon Prime Video, it’s also an opportunity to add a very popular license to its growing catalog.
With the ambition to establish itself in the SVOD panorama in the long term, Amazon bought the rights to Tolkien’s saga in 2017 to develop a particularly ambitious series. Rings of Power was born. Aware that it has rather an interest in deviating from everything that Peter Jackson touched on, the platform nevertheless decides to situate its plot several millennia before the adventures of our good old Frodo Baggins.
John D. Payne and Patrick McKay are responsible for deepening the mythology with this series. The two screenwriters, who have been collaborating for twenty years, have a certain history with the saga. During a press conference, which we were able to attend, the showrunners and the producer returned to the creative process and the ambitions of the platform.
A new page to write
As we said above, Rings of Power is not directly adapted from a work by Tolkien. The story of the series is inspired by the legend that the author has built over his novels. The creators have thus decided to compose with this information distilled here and there to explore the second age. It was at this point that Sauron rose to power and began wanting to establish his dominance over Middle-earth. The series intends to explore this whole dimension through its story.
“When we heard that Amazon had acquired the rights, we put our hands up as high as we could because we knew there’s an incredible story to be told from the books. When you think about the scope and ambition of Tolkien’s universe mythology, it’s vast and bottomless, it’s abyssal and an ocean of ideas. We always had in mind that he had a force of attraction that makes the series gravitate around previous works. It’s kind of like a side story to The Lord of the Rings.”
The work of Peter Jackson obviously played an important role in the conception of this new saga, The Lord of the Rings having left its mark in the imagination of the spectators.
“We are big fans of his films and that’s how we discovered Tolkien, we included a lot of references and respect to his work. We were also lucky enough to be able to work with some Alumni in New Zealand, but we didn’t want to make the series a piece of nostalgia. It didn’t have to be a prequel, where you have to know what’s happening to be able to appreciate what you see. It really had to be a story that stood on its own.”
The choice of modernity
Since the publication of the first episodes, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerreceives a lot of criticism for its casting choices. The series decided to take the route of diversity, including actors of color in its narration.
According to the creators, this choice of modernity was motivated by the desire to also represent our societies. “I would say we are today’s humans, we can’t escape that. We were determined to make this series timeless, we didn’t want the series to be experienced as a work of 2022, we wanted people to experience it like they would the books. Hopefully it’s something that won’t have aged badly in 70 years.”
For actors, like Ismael Cruz Cordova, joining the cast of such a series is a great opportunity to act for more diversity on screen. It was not a foregone conclusion for the actor who had to prove on several occasions that he was made for the role of Arondir. The actor confided during the press conference to have suffered two refusals before finally winning the role.
“I was fierce about it. I said no, I’m going to keep fighting for this thing (…) At that moment, I said to myself, no, I’m going to show up in front of Juan Bayona’s house. My team told me ‘we would like you not to end up in prison’. The creators finally emailed me to say they were testing with five other guys and they gave me a shot. I went to New Zealand pretending I didn’t care, it was wrong. And then I got the role.”
He was right to fight since his character, invented for the needs of the narration, is very popular with the public. All that remains is to find out what the future holds for him. So meet every Friday on Amazon Prime Video to discover a new episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
It is at 6 am that they are put online on the platform owned by the firm founded by Jeff Bezos. This first season has no less than eight episodes. A second season is already in the works, the creators hope to be able to produce at least five. This will require the public to follow. It’s gone pretty well.
Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video