The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike is already having an effect on TV and film as the entertainment industry’s writing force goes completely on strike. Late-night TV has basically been canceled, and more and more shows are having to scrap their plans. Amazon, however, is gearing up to finish off season 2 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which was already in production when the strike occurred: The show will continue filming, just without executive producers and showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
The massive show, which is one of Amazon’s biggest both in terms of audience and budget, had already been filming in the UK since October 3 and had only 19 more days of shooting left. While not ideal, Payne and McKay had prepared for the possibility of a writers’ strike, which forbids them from showing up on set or working on any creative aspects of the show, both of which would be considered crossing the picket line. The series already had multiple units filming that didn’t involve either person and the pair had planned everything in detail before the strike began so that non-writing executive producers could take over without too much of a hitch. This should all keep the second season of Rings of Power on schedule, though major production like this continuing on does unfortunately weaken the strike as studios don’t feel the hit until further along.
Of course, losing your two head creatives isn’t a little thing. Back in 2007 during the previous writers strike, multiple shows and films that were in the middle of writing went off cliffs as productions continued on without their writers/showrunners. It’s no small feat to continue a creative vision without the people with that vision, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. Hopefully, the studios will come back to the table soon so that shows that have even more work to do can get completed with the people who created them.
In the interim, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2 will finish filming, without its showrunners.