The series that chronicles the Second Age, is set thousands of years before Frodo and Sam left the shire in ‘Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring’. “It’s a story of hope and approaching darkness, and this being Tolkien, it’s a story of loss,” said Colbert before putting the three producers on the hot seat and getting them talking in Elvish and spilling the beans about the show, the inspiration behind the characters and more.
Here’s a list of the 10 biggest revelations that Payne, McKay and Weber made about the launch that will surely get any fan buzzing for the 2nd September 2022 release.
What is ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power’ series about?
Patrick McKay: It is a rare thing for an author or director to truly create an optimistic work of art and this is what it is. Most often it becomes hallmark and sacrosanct and Lord Of The Rings is not that! It is born of pain and struggle and evil and still comes out in the end saying there is a reason for hope. And that friendship and bravery are still greater powers than evil.
JD Payne: It’s a human story. Step back from the bigger world, imagine your home, family, job, your cosplay costume, and the things that matter the most to you and imagine all of that’s about to be taken away. How far into the darkness would you go to protect the things that matter the most? That’s the core of what this story’s about.
What went into bringing the Second Age to life?
Patrick: For this first season, we wanted to reintroduce Middle Earth. We are a thousand years before the Third Age. The society, people and kingdoms are very different. The world is in a different state. Gandalf says, “Always after a defeat and a respite, the shadow takes another shape and grows again.” That’s what the show is about this season, reintroducing this world and the return of evil.
Was it always going to be about the second age?
JD: Of course, Amazon bought the rights to 10,000 years of Tolkien history. We felt that the Second Age was freaking awesome. It is Tolkien’s amazing untold story that is so iconic – the forging of the rings of power. It is the rise of the dark lord Sauron, the fall of the greatest kingdom ever created – Numenor. And finally, you find the last line of elves and men to come together and (almost) defeat Sauron. (But) The ring survives and evil continues into another age. That story struck us as one that could live up to and match the grandeur of the story.
Patrick: As fans of Tolkien, we didn’t want to do a spinoff or an origin story of something else. We wanted to find a huge, Tolkienian mega epic.
How is ‘The Rings of Power’ a timely series?
JD: My favourite moment of this show is the downfall of Numenor. Watching this kingdom where there is fascism, and groups pulling apart its fabric, it’s so timely not just for our culture, but for cultures around the world. We see so many divisions happening and the tragedy of it all can be so deeply cathartic for us to experience what are the hopes people have. What were the mistakes they made? Why did things go wrong? The fall of Numenor is painful, but maybe it can be helpful because we can learn from it.
What were the challenges while making this series?
Lindsey Weber: The real challenge was keeping up with the imagination of Tolkien, JD and Patrick. It is a boundless sea of creativity, so for me and the team, it was all about just keeping up with them and everything they wanted to do in the page world and off it.
Patrick: What she means is, this show was very hard to produce.
Did they feel a sense of pressure while making a show on the LOTR franchise?
Patrick: There is no one who could have put more pressure on us, than ourselves. This means so much to us and getting it right means so much to us. We have been the fans who have been disappointed many times over and we didn’t want to disappoint the fans and many other people. It is sort of nice to celebrate this with you all.
How did they create new characters and keep them true to Tolkien’s work?
JD: We worked with scholars and lore experts in the writer’s room, but Tolkien gave us all these clues about cultures in the Second Age in his extensive notes in the appendices. Concerning Hobbits, he talks about their ancestors and gives us a couple of tantalizing paragraphs about the Harfoots and clues about their wandering days. We always went back to Tolkien and when he was silent, we tried to invent a Tolkienian way as possible.
How did the makers cast the actors for their roles?
JD: Casting went on for a long, long time. We saw hundreds and thousands, but it came down to two criteria. They had to be excellent performers as we were going to be with them for 50 hours at a stretch and the second was to be able to look into their eyes and see if they have Middle Earth in them.
Patrick: We are really proud of this cast and the work they have done. You are all going to fall in love with them.
How much of the set was CGI and how much was built?
Lindsey: We built as much of the set as humanly possible. it was a labour of love of many people, we built it all from the ground up. The water and coastlines, New Zealand provided us, but of course, the VFX team also helped.
Will the Third Age be referenced in the series?
JD: We did not take anything from the Third Age, but maybe somewhere down the road, who knows what can happen?