When Amazon announced 20 new cast members for their upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV show, fans were given a lot of food for thought. Very few role allocations are known so far, with the rumor that Morfydd Clark will portray Galadriel as the only major one. This leaves quite a lot of room for speculation. But when does the Amazon Show take place?
Even though the TV show is still referred to as The Lord of the Rings, it is not going to be another adaptation of Tolkien’s story of the same name. Very little is known about the plot and events that will be covered, but what we know for sure is that the series is going to be a prequel about the Second Age of Middle Earth (the LotR events unfold during the Third).
However, contrary to many fans’ speculations, this is not going to be a direct adaptation of Tolkien’s other works such as The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales either. Amazon’s rights only allow them to use The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as their source material.
This means that the new series will largely consist of new stories, most likely based on past events that are mentioned by characters in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Of course, these will need to be significantly fleshed out. Whatever information there is about the plot is currently kept under lock and key, so any rumored plot lines are based on small details released by Amazon. A map they posted on Twitter features Numenor, a major island kingdom that sank due to its people’s hubris, in a story that echoes Atlantis. This suggests that the Amazon TV show could be concerned with the destruction of Numenor and its aftermath, among other things. Amazon’s inclusion of lines from the poem about the One Ring, in their tweets is seen by some as a teaser that Sauron’s past and the creation of the Ring could potentially be explored.
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne. In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. pic.twitter.com/hRmGQbOhLj— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) March 6, 2019
Some have also speculated that book-only fan-favorite Tom Bombadil could also make an appearance, though this has not been confirmed or denied yet.
The absence of substantial source material that the creators are allowed to use to bring the Second Age to life might worry some fans of Tolkien’s work. However, the liberties the production is going to take won’t be unfaithful to Tolkien’s world. Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey (author of J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century and The Road to Middle Earth) is supervising the show’s development, so events that contradict what Tolkien has established are unlikely. This is not to say there aren't any things that could ruin the new Lord of the Rings, but the production seems well thought of.
The first season of the TV Show will be 20 episodes long while a second one has already been confirmed. This might seem hard to imagine now, especially with so little source material to work with. However, remembering the richness of Tolkien’s world and the fact that the Second Age of Middle Earth lasted 3,441 years, everything is possible.
While waiting for the new series, rewatching The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is never a bad idea.