A picture can be misleading, especially when it comes to production stills. Let’s hope that’s the case for the new images and photos of Amazon’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Vanity Fair just dropped a long article on the show, and it featured a slate of first-look images that all look pretty sub-par, especially for a series that will take over $1 billion to make five seasons of and cost $462 million for the first season alone.
The The Rings of Power images give us a look at Morfydd Clark as the younger Galadriel; Owain Arthur as the dwarf Prince Durin IV; Sophia Nomvete as dwarven princess Disa; the elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Cordova; a young Elrond, played by Robert Aramayo; the human Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) with her forbidden lover Arondir; Elrond and Galadriel together; Bronwyn sitting alone in her healer’s workshop; Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), a new human character introduced for the show who travels with Galadriel; and some production stills. The images look, well, pretty generic on the whole. The costuming and lighting lack the unique quality that Peter Jackson’s films had, and at the moment it is hard to differentiate the show from something like Game of Thrones unless you’re deep into Tolkien lore.
Vanity Fair also took a deep dive into the story of the show, which will focus on the forging of the rings and feature 22 different major characters spread out across multiple storylines. The article focuses a lot on Galadriel as she hunts down the last remnants for the dark times of the first age. “Rings for the elves, rings for dwarves, rings for men, and then the one ring Sauron used to deceive them all,” said showrunner Patrick McKay. “It’s the story of the creation of all those powers, where they came from, and what they did to each of those races.” He then adds, “Can we come up with the novel Tolkien never wrote and do it as the mega-event series that could only happen now?”
I’m sure that the last sentence gave fans a little gag reflex, but McKay and co-showrunner J.D. Payne gave the best pitch despite having no other production credits to their name and are newcomers to running a show. The pair was selected, however, after a grueling process and pitching to both Amazon on the Tolkien family. They say they are not making a Game of Thrones clone, full of sex and violence, but instead a loving adaptation of Tolkien’s appendices (That’s all Amazon has the rights to at the moment, so no hobbits or wizards.) that anyone can enjoy no matter the age. Hopefully, that turns out to be true, and these The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power first-look images are just a sub-standard precursor to something great.