We watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power online tonight, but this premiere is feature-length, not one but two episodes! And, wouldn't you know it, this is the second chapter in the late-summer fantasy TV streaming wars. Things heated up with HBO Max throwing down House of the Dragon, and now Amazon Prime Video is volleying with a Lord of the Rings series. It's a veritable game of streaming thrones, isn't it?
The Rings of Power debuts today (Thursday, Sept. 1) at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT and 2 a.m. UK on Friday (Sept. 2) on Amazon Prime Video (opens in new tab).
Subsequent episodes will debut three hours later. Full schedule below.
One of the biggest entries in the Fall TV shows lineup, The Rings of Power plants us back in The Second Age, at a moment in time when Sauron's forces have seemingly been beaten away. Want to know what we think? Check out our Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power review to learn why we like it — and why we expect it will be very divisive.
Speaking of names you may remember from the Lord of the Rings movies, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) believes that Sauron's forces aren't completely gone, but is having a hard time convincing those around her. Elrond (Robert Aramayo), for example, thinks a time of peace is upon us. Which would probably be bad if this series is supposed to be action-packed.
Elsewhere in The Rings of Power, Elven smith Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) is likely to be smithing like he's never smithed before. We'll meet Dwarven prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and his wife princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), and Númenóreans Isildur (Maxim Baldry) and Elendil (Lloyd Owen) have big roles to play as well. There's also a mysterious being known as The Stranger (Daniel Weyman).
Plus, while The Rings of Power may not have Hobbits, they do have the Harfoot, who are practically cousins of the Hobbits. Adventurous Elanor 'Nori' Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) is one to keep an eye on.
Editor's note: Now that the whole season is aired, check out our guide to Rings of Power season 2 when you're ready.
So, here's everything you need to know to watch Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power online:
How to watch Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power online in the US, UK, Canada and Australia
Viewers can watch Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1 and 2 starting today (Thursday, Sept. 1) at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT on Amazon Prime Video (opens in new tab) . That means it drops at 2 a.m. BST and 11 a.m. AU on Friday (Sept. 2)
These are the first two of eight episodes. The remaining six will arrive on the following Fridays.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (opens in new tab) is an Amazon Prime Video original. The streaming service comes with a Prime subscription, which you can sample with a a one-month free trial. (opens in new tab) Prime Video's library includes original movies and series, like The Boys, Wheel of Time and Underground Railroad.
How to watch Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power anywhere on Earth
While Amazon Prime Video is available in many countries around the world, it's not everywhere. If you are in a region without access to Prime Video, you don't have to miss Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Watching along with the rest of the internet can be pretty easy. With the right VPN (virtual private network), you can stream the show from wherever you go.
We've evaluated many options, and the best VPN is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab). It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more.)
Our favorite VPN service, ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), really shines thanks to its safety, speed and simplicity-to-use. It's also compatible with loads of devices - from iOS and Android to Roku, Apple TV and PlayStations. You'll even get an extra 3 months free if you sign up for a year, or there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you just want to give it a try.
Using a VPN is incredibly simple.
1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is our favorite.
2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.S. and want to view a U.K. service, you'd select U.K. from the list.
3. Sit back and enjoy the action. Head to Amazon Prime Video or other streaimng services and tune in.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode schedule
- The Rings of Power episode 1 — Sept. 1 @ 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT
- The Rings of Power episode 2 — Sept. 1 @ 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT
- The Rings of Power episode 3 — Sept. 9 @ 12 a.m. ET
- The Rings of Power episode 4 — Sept. 16 @ 12 a.m. ET
- The Rings of Power episode 5 — Sept. 23 @ 12 a.m. ET
- The Rings of Power episode 6 — Sept. 30 @ 12 a.m. ET
- The Rings of Power episode 7 — Oct. 7 @ 12 a.m. ET
- The Rings of Power episode 8 — Oct. 14 @ 12 a.m. ET
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power trailers
The latest Rings of Power trailer showed how Galadriel's work is rooted in avenging her brother's death in battle. She also seems to be a uniter of wayward warriors.
The latest The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power teaser trailer has given us a serious look at the settings of the series, from the elven city of Lindon to the island of Númenor, as well as what appears to be the Shire before it was established.
We also get a feel for how the series will address the rise of Sauron as a time when it appears there's relative peace and prosperity. Check the latest trailer out below.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power title revealed
The title of the series was revealed in the below video, which features a murky set of visuals with molten lava appear as J.R.R. Tolkien's familiar words are said aloud:
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power budget
All of Smaug's gold could maybe finance the Lord of The Rings TV show. The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) produced a new report revealing that the first season of the series will cost Amazon $465 million U.S.D. to produce. That's on top of the $250 million they paid to get the rights to the series.
Of course, Amazon's spending on filming in New Zealand will get them a tax rebate reward of $114 million U.S.D..
Lord of the Rings TV show cast and crew
Little by little, we learn more about who’s going to appear in the Lord of the Rings series. Joseph Mawle — likely most well known for playing Benjen Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones — will be in the show in a main villain role, Variety (opens in new tab) confirmed in October 2019. The rest of the cast is a dense list of actors, with nothing revealed in terms of roles.
On July 1, 2021, The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) broke the news that Amelie Child-Villiers (Censor), (Charles Edwards (The Crown), Will Fletcher and Beau Cassidy were added to the series. Their roles were not disclosed.
At TCA20, the following actors were announced as being cast (opens in new tab): Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge (rumored to have left the show), Morfydd Clark, Ema Horvath, Ismael Cordova, Markella Kavenagh. Amazon (opens in new tab) added the following names: Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman.
Variety claims that Morfydd Clark will be a younger version of Galadriel (best known from Cate Blanchett's performance in the Peter Jackson films).
In December 2020, Amazon (opens in new tab) announced more casting: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells,
Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.
Previously announced cast members include Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh, who are expected to be main characters. Maxim Baldry was also listed.
In addition to showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona is set to produce the first two episodes of the series, too, Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) reported.
Producing partner Belén Atienza will join Bayona, and other creatives behind the camera include executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire) and Sharon Tal Yguado. Writers such as Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad) and Jason Cahill (The Sopranos) are also on board, along with countless other team members.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power synopsis and plot
The series will still take place in Middle-earth, but the television adaptation will actually be a prequel occurring before the events of the films. Tolkien estate and HarperCollins representative Matt Galsor said the show will "bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings,” Ars Technica (opens in new tab) reported.
Here is the official synopsis released by Amazon (opens in new tab):
"Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone."
A spy report from TheOneRing.net (opens in new tab) pulled out a lot of details about what's to come, including that "elements & passages from 'The Silmarillion' and 'Unfinished Tales' are licensed by Amazon Studios for this adaptation. Also, unlike Game of Thrones, the report notes that the LoTR series will feature nudity that "is sparse and not sexualized."
So, expect a lot of world building as we get a big view of The Second Age of Tolkien's Middle Earth.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power show location and production
Production is currently under way, which Amazon confirmed with a tweet (opens in new tab) containing the following photo:
Amazon Studios confirmed filming for the Lord of the Rings series at three locations near Auckland — in New Zealand, where the feature films were shot as well.
"As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff," showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement (opens in new tab) on September 17, 2019.
"We’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings."
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power's Sauron
We don't have casting news or any detail behind if or how Sauron will factor into the Amazon Lord of the Rings show, but we do have reason to believe the biggest bad in Middle Earth will be there. Just not at the start. TheOneRing (opens in new tab) reports "Sauron/Annatar will not be revealed in Season One."
That's because the above synopsis notes "the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness." And those words scream the name of the eye that rules over all: Sauron. Or as many know his previous form: Annatar, the Lord of Gifts.
And with Annatar/Sauron, Amazon's Lord of the Rings show has its best chance to stand strong in the
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