An Unexpected Journey

LOTR: Rings of Power release date, time, plot, cast, and trailer for Amazon’s epic prequel

Return to Middle-earth’s glorious Second Age in this extravagant Amazon Studios production

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly ten years since Bard the Bowman fired the Black Arrow into the belly of Smaug the Terrible in Lake-town during the final chapter of director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy in 2013. Now avid fans are finally trekking back to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth fantasy kingdom with Amazon Studios’ prequel series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

This ambitious prehistory project unspools prior to the narrative of The Lord of the Rings during the Second Age and will be distinctly different than the Academy Award-winning films, all while exploring new storylines set thousands of years prior to both The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Rings.

The lavish production comes charging onto the airwaves with a bit of controversy from diehard Tolkien fans regarding changes made to canonical elements, but this “lively” debate only serves to make the $465 million show even more enticing when it arrives this week.

It’s been reported that Amazon ponied up a stout $250 million to the Tolkien Estate just for the property rights, so the streaming titan is hoping it deeply connects with audiences to justify the exorbitant costs. With a planned five seasons, the staggering final bill will be just north of a billion dollars.

Official poster for The Rings of Power.

Amazon Studios

Jackson was initially interested in participating in this ancient origins undertaking but nothing was ever solidified and the series creators decided to not let the styles of this New Zealand-shot prequel and the legacy of the beloved Hollywood films co-exist.

What wonders will we behold when The Rings of Power unfolds and will the stratospheric costs be worth Amazon’s colossal investment? Will its inexperienced showrunners Patrick McKay and JD Payne score an overwhelming hit? And, most importantly, what time exactly can you watch the series premiere on Prime Video?

Let’s unpack all that shall come to pass and see if this heroic saga might become the Tolkien-inspired offering to rule them all!

When is The Rings of Power release date?

The first two episodes technically arrive on September 2 as part of a global launch, but here in the U.S. we’ll be able to watch them starting on September 1 thanks to a simultaneous premiere. (More on that in a second.)

When is The Rings of Power release time?

Because the first two episodes are debuting at the exact same time around the world, you’ll be able to watch them this Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern time (that’s 6 p.m. Pacific). Don’t get too excited though. Moving forward, Amazon is expected to release a new weekly episode at midnight Eastern time each Friday (or 9 p.m. Pacific).

How many episodes are in The Rings of Power Season 1?

The debut season of The Rings of Power consists of eight episodes.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s J.A. Bayona will direct the first two episodes, with co-executive producer Wayne Che Yip (Preacher, Doctor Who) helming four episodes, and Charlotte Brändström (Outlander, The Witcher, Jupiter’s Legacy) directing a pair of episodes.

Amazon Studios’ The Rings of Power

Amazon Studios

What is the plot of The Rings of Power?

First off, it’s set a long time ago in this fictional universe. The Second Age is that period of Middle-earth when Elrond founded the elven paradise Rivendell and Sauron started to forge his Mordorian base of operations and created the notorious One Ring as seen in the prologue from The Fellowship of the Ring. This span of time covers more than three thousand years and it’s an entirely unfamiliar place than what we’re accustomed to, with a variety of foreign-sounding cultures and kingdoms.

“It’s about friendship,” McKay told Vanity Fair. “It’s about brotherhood and underdogs overcoming great darkness.”

The plot will focus upon the fierce elven queen Galadriel, a militant leader of the Northern armies, and Halbrand, a resourceful fugitive whose shadowy past keeps him sprinting from old troubles. The Rings of Power will also present Hobbit ancestors called Harfoots and the intermingling of numerous denizens of Middle-earth like dwarves, elves, giants, and humans.

Here’s the official synopsis:

“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. 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 furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.”

Who is in The Rings of Power cast?

With 22 main characters, dozens of supporting players, hundreds of extras, and a multitude of intertwined backstories and adventures, The Rings of Power is truly a breathtaking endeavor.

Morfydd Clark stars as a younger iteration of Galadriel, the character previously portrayed by Cate Blanchett. Game of Thrones’ Benjen Stark, Joseph Mawle (Oren), is the series other big baddie and Robert Aramayo, the Game of Thrones actor who nailed it as a 20-something Eddard Stark, will play a young Elrond.

Rounding out other significant co-stars are Anson Boon (Sauron/Annatar), Maxim Baldry (Isildur), Markella Kavenagh (Tyra), Owain Arthur (Prince Durin IV), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir), Ema Horvath (Earien), Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa), and Charlie Vickers (Halbrand).

Is there a trailer for The Rings of Power?

Yes, Prime Video released the final trailer for The Rings of Power on August 23 and it’s packed with sweeping images of Middle-earth, an armored Galadriel taking up the sword against looming evil, raging storms, sea monsters, tragic battles, blazing torches, and waterfalls galore.

Will we see The Rings of Power Season 2?

Absolutely, as Amazon Studios has basically bet the farm (or at least the livestock barn) on turning this Tolkien epic into a Game of Thrones-like phenomenon, and executive producers/showrunners McKay and Payne have already mapped out a five-season agenda. Word of the early Season 2 greenlight was first announced by Deadline way back in 2019. Filming does shift from New Zealand to the U.K. though for the sophomore season.

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