‘Rings of Power’ to Finish Filming Season 2 Amid Writers Strike Without Showrunners on Set
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is the latest marquee TV series to move forward with production amid the ongoing WGA strike, but the Amazon Prime Video show will be doing so without the services of executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
The sweeping fantasy series has 19 days of filming remaining, sources confirm to Variety, but per WGA strike rules, Payne, McKay and any other writer-producers are barred from participating in any writing-based duties during production while the strike continues — including making creative decisions on set. Instead, the show’s non-writing executive producers (like Lindsey Weber), directors (Charlotte Brändström, Sanaa Hamri and Louise Hooper) and crew are overseeing production on the U.K.-based shoot.
More from Variety
David Zaslav Shoots Down Claims That Cost-Conscious Media Companies Are 'Glad' Writers Are on Strike
Canadian Writers Stand Behind WGA Strike as Local Production Suffers
All the TV Shows and Movies Affected by the WGA Writers Strike (Updating)
According to a source close to the production, there have been multiple units filming on “Rings of Power,” including night shoots, for much of the duration of the season given its feature-film level scope. Payne and McKay also planned in advance with the production team for a possible writers strike to make their absence from the show as seamless as possible.
The pressure on all current film and TV productions during the writers strike is compounded by the looming June 30 contract deadline for SAG-AFTRA and the DGA. If those guilds and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers fail to reach a new contract agreement by that date, actors and directors could join the writers strike, leading to an even more drastic industry-wide shutdown.
“The Rings of Power” shifted production from New Zealand to the U.K. for the eight-episode second season, which started filming on Oct. 3, 2022. Other executive producers include Callum Greene, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill and Gennifer Hutchison; Brändström is a co-executive producer, and Kate Hazell and Helen Shang are producers. Andrew Lee, Matthew Penry-Davey and Clare Buxton are co-producers.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect how long multiple units have been shooting on “The Rings of Power,” and that the production planned in advance for a writers strike.
VIP+ Data: Media Companies Most Impacted in a Strike
Best of Variety
Tony Predictions: Best Musical -- Four Stand Poised to Give ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ Some Competition
This 'Fast and Furious' Arcade Cabinet Allows You to Step Behind the Wheel as Dom Toretto
From 'The Shards' to 'Daisy Jones & The Six': Books Made Into Movies and TV Series That You Should Read
Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.