Amazon Prime Video has just dropped the official trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, its fabulously expensive take on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. This show is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before characters like Frodo and Aragorn are born. The elves aren’t yet leaving the continent en masse, a race of long-lived humans rule from the utopian island nation of Númenor, and Sauron has the bright idea to make himself a Ring. You know the One.
Amazon revealed the trailer during a panel at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, which was hosted by inveterate Lord of the Rings dork Stephen Colbert.
Darkness is rising in the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The Rings of Power is based on the appendices to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books, which essentially means it’s based on a series of bullet points, although a more detailed list of bullet points you are not likely to find. In any case, given the paucity of material, the team behind The Rings of Power will be filling in some details themselves. I don’t remember a story about Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) swimming away from a giant fish monster, although that part of the trailer does look spectacular.
The trailer looks to get the basic arc of the Second Age right. It starts out in an age of peace after the overthrow of Morgoth, the original Dark Lord of Middle-earth. But some people sense that there are still dark things on the horizon, including Galadriel and Míriel, the Empress of Númenor. And she’s right. Morgoth’s old lieutenant Sauron is quietly making moves to imitate his master and become a new Dark Lord, and his plan involves the creation of several Rings of Power.
The depiction of Sauron in the trailer is interesting. We know Sauron from The Lord of the Rings as a wicked spirit of malevolence or a towering dark warrior in badass armor. But during the bulk of the Second Age, Sauron was able to assume a form pleasing to the eye; it’s how he tricks a lot of the elves into helping make the Rings of Power (although Galadriel isn’t fooled). In this trailer, we see him as a terrifying, long-clawed menace. But there are also shots of a callow-looking guy with short-cropped blonde and a glowering glare. Is this supposed to be Sauron’s pleasing form, known as Annatar, the Lord of the Gifts? Kinda looks like he wandered away from the rest of his emo punk band.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon Prime Video on September 2. I’m getting excited. A lot of Lord of the Rings fans have treated The Rings of Power with skepticism, but I’m willing to at least take a day trip to Middle-earth. And who knows? Maybe it’ll be good enough that I’ll stay longer.
Lord of the Rings TV show release date
There are a total of eight episodes in the first season of The Rings of Power. Amazon is already getting rolling on a second season, and if all goes according to plan, there will be around five in all.
Some people are really looking forward to this show while others are very skeptical. We can all find out whether the money was worth it when the show makes its debut in September.