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Lord of the Rings Prime Video show: Release date, cast and everything we know so far

Lord of the Rings TV show on Amazon
(Image credit: New Line)

We're learning more about The Lord of the Rings Amazon show that's coming to take us back to Middle Earth. Not only is it one of the most highly-anticipated shows in the production pipeline, even though it doesn’t have an official premiere date, but it's a prequel to the LOTR movies we've seen so far.

In fact, the show has already received an early Season 2 renewal, and according to Deadline, it’s already in the works. That certainly seems promising for any Tolkien fans who are anxiously awaiting the project!

While the phrase “Lord of the Rings TV show” might evoke certain images of Hobbits like Frodo Baggins or Andy Serkis’ creepy portrayal of Gollum, the actual series might be very different from the beloved movie trilogy. Here’s everything we know about the Lord of the Rings TV show ordered by Amazon, including its release date, cast, synopsis and so much more.

Latest Lord of the Rings TV show news (updated Aug. 2)

  • We have our first look at the show and a release date
  • Reportedly, Sauron/Annatar will not be revealed in season 1 of the series
  • Amelie Child-Villiers, Charles Edwards, Will Fletcher and Beau Cassidy were added to the cast

Lord of the Rings TV show release date 

Lord of the Rings Prime Video show

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

In a tweet with the above photo, Amazon announced that "On September 2, 2022, a new journey begins,"This is the million-dollar question, and it seems like we're waiting until 2022. Amazon has not revealed an official release date for the series. And while production began a while ago, it was halted due to Covid-19 cutting off most chances of the December 2021 release that was rumored to happen.

However, one of the requirements of the $250 million rights deal Amazon made to acquire global television rights to The Lord of the Rings was that the company had to begin production on the show within two years of the deal being made, according to IndieWire. Amazon issued a press release in November 2017 confirming the acquisition, reported, so production of the series needed to begin already to fall within those parameters. 

Stuff reported that production began in February 2020.

Lord of the Rings TV show budget

All of Smaug's gold could maybe finance the Lord of The Rings TV show. The Hollywood Reporter 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 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 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: Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge (rumored to have left the show), Morfydd Clark, Ema Horvath, Ismael Cordova, Markella Kavenagh. Amazon 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 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 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.

Lord of the Rings TV show 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 reported. 

Here is the official synopsis released by Amazon:

"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 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. 

Lord of the Rings TV show location and production

Production is currently under way, which Amazon confirmed with a tweet containing the following photo:

Lord of the Rings show on Prime

The photo was captioned "From all of us on set here in New Zealand, wishing you a happy #TolkienReadingDay." (Image credit: LOTRonPrime/Twitter)

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 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."

Lord of the Rings TV show'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 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  

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.