“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” showrunners have the map of all five seasons in place.
While the Prime Video series’ first season doesn’t premiere until September, showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay have already outlined a full five-season story.
“We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be,” showrunner JD Payne told Empire.
“The rights that Amazon bought were for a 50-hour show,” he continued. “They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas – this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle and end. There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until Season 5.”
The Amazon series takes place thousands of years before the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, introducing some new characters and revisiting old ones in the Second Age of Middle Earth.
So while beloved characters like Elrond and Galadriel appear (due to their Elven nature they can conceivably be alive at this point int he timeline), Payne and McKay had to map out the storyline for all-new characters as well, pulling heavily from Tolkein’s work along the way.
“It was like Tolkien put some stars in the sky and let us make out the constellations,” he said. “In his letters [particularly in one to his publisher], Tolkien talked about wanting to leave behind a mythology that ‘left scope for other minds and hands, wielding the tools of paint, music and drama.’ We’re doing what Tolkien wanted. As long as we felt like every invention of ours was true to his essence, we knew we were on the right track.”
The timeline for “Rings of Power” roots itself in major historical events like the creation of the rings and the anticipated return of evil forces to Middle Earth, particularly the rise of Sauron.
The official synopsis for “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is as follows:
Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and one of the greatest villains that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. 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 reemergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the farthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” premieres on Prime Video on Sept. 2, with new episodes released weekly.