Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series gets 2022 release date, first photo


Get ready for a return to Middle-earth, but Frodo (seen here as played by Elijah Wood in the film trilogy) won’t be there.

Start counting down, Tolkien fans. Amazon announced Monday that its pricey Lord of the Rings TV series will premiere on Sept. 2, 2022 on Prime Video, noting that filming of the first season just ended in New Zealand. Think of it as a kind of prequel to the books and movies you may already know, as it’s set thousands of years before The Hobbit and LOTR.

Fans seem ready, with more than 30,000 Twitter users liking the post in less than 30 minutes. The tweet also shared what appears to be the first ever image from the new show, leaving fans to speculate about what it might show. It’s a scenic image with a figure cloaked in white with their back to the camera. Amazon didn’t explain the image, but fans speculated that it might show the “two trees of Valinor,” two trees that brought light in ancient times.

“Are those the two trees of Valinor in the background?” asked one Twitter user.

Wrote another, “But they were both destroyed in the first age and Amazon only has rights to the second age.”

Others speculated this could be a flashback scene, writing, “Could be some sort of retelling early on in the season of the events of the first age? Like they did with the last alliance at the beginning of (the 2001 film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring).”

There are four ages in Tolkien’s works. Lord of the Rings was set in the Third Age, and this series will take place in The Second Age. The famous One Ring of Lord of the Rings fame was forged in this time period by the Dark Lord Sauron.

“Beginning in a time of relative peace … the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth,” Amazon said in a statement.

Way back in February 2019, Amazon shared an interactive map showing the part of Middle-earth that’ll be depicted in the show. Users can zoom in on parts of the map and move around it. There’s not a lot to see, but the map does show the island of Númenor, which rose from the sea and then was destroyed and sunk back under the waves, Atlantis-style.

This kind of show needs a massive cast, and Amazon has revealed a long list of actors who’ll star in the series, though there’s not a lot of detail about the characters they will play. English actor Robert Aramayo, who played young Ned Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones, will star as Beldor, the leading role in the new series. 

And Amazon isn’t cheaping out. Deadline reported the company paid close to $250 million for the rights to this material, making it the most expensive TV series ever. That doesn’t even include the cost of hiring the actors and crew and of production Down Under. The Hollywood Reporter speculates that the series could cost more than $1 billion.