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Why Rings Of Power Series Isn’t A LOTR Prequel Explained By Showrunner


Jul 20, 2022

The Rings of Power showrunner Patrick McKay explains why the upcoming Amazon series is not actually a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Following Peter Jackson’s massively successful adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for New Line Cinema, Rings of Power will be Amazon Studios’ first foray into the fantastical world of Middle-Earth. In 2017, Amazon purchased the television rights to Lord of the Rings for $250 million and made a five-season commitment to Rings of Power worth a whopping $1 billion in production costs, which will make it the most expensive TV series ever made.

Soon after the purchase, McKay and J.D. Payne were brought on as showrunners. Though they are uncredited on the film, some of the duo’s past work includes writing a draft of the script for 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. Other than Payne and McKay, the creative team also includes Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s J.A. Bayona, who directs the first episodes and acts as an executive producer. Based on Tolkien’s history of Middle-earth, Rings of Power is set during the Second Age, thousands of years before the events of Lord of the Rings. However, there is now some debate on whether or not it is actually a prequel.

During a new interview with EWRings of Power showrunner Patrick McKay explained why, in his view, the upcoming series is not a prequel to Lord of the Rings. Instead of making a show about a younger version of Middle-Earth, McKay says their goal was to tell a story that could stand completely on its own. Read what he said below:

We were not interested in doing a show about the younger version of the same world you knew, where it’s a little bit of a prequel. We wanted to go way, way, way back and find a story that could exist on its own two feet. This was one that we felt hadn’t been told on the level and the scale and with the depth that we felt it deserved.

Trees of Valinor in Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power

Even though Rings of Power is frequently referred to as a prequel to Lord of the Rings, McKay provides a somewhat compelling reason for why it shouldn’t be. Despite the showrunner’s rationalization, Rings of Power will still function largely as a predecessor to Lord of the Rings by exploring multiple origin stories, such as the forging of the fabled rings and the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron. The series will also feature younger versions of characters seen in Peter Jackson’s movies – Elrond (now played by Robert Aramayo) and Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark).

The debate over whether or not Rings of Power is a prequel to Lord of the Rings is largely centered around a technicality, one that seems to boil down to rights issues. For legal reasons, Rings of Power cannot be considered a direct prequel to the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit film trilogies, as those rights remain with Warner Bros. Still, Rings of Power was produced in a similar style to Jackson’s movies which will hopefully evoke similar feelings for Lord of the Rings fans.

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