The Rings of Power tops the Nielsens

The Rings of Power – the LOTR TV series could have been very different

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Other ideas for The Lord of the Rings on TV included a Marvel-style, multi-series approach. 

With Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power barrelling towards it’s first season finale, and filming just begin on the second, its showrunners have given an extensive interview to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a lengthy, but worthwhile, read which begins with the approach Amazon took in order to secure the project.

The Rings of Power title card

As well as telling of how they convened their own internal “fellowship”, we get a few hits of some of their competitor’s ideas.

Apparently HBO favoured a retelling of Middle Earth’s “Third Age”, effectively retelling The Lord of the Rings again. Netflix, on the other hand, pitched an MCU-style approach, with multiple shows like a Gandalf series and an Aragorn drama.

“Braveheart, not Narnia”

However, Amazon won out with their “Second Age” approach and the promise of fidelity to Tolkien’s works; the rights holders, Tolkien’s literary agents “has its gripes with Jackson’s adaptations”. Which led them to showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne.

The pair discuss their first pitch to Amazon –  “Braveheart, not Narnia — you want it real and lived in”, and the series of further pitches that followed. Very much the underdogs of the process, they suggest an endorsement from J.J. Abrams may have assisted.

The Rings of Power - Durin

The piece, by James Hibberd, goes on to discuss reactions to the show and what the pair have learned while making the first season. Patrick McKay answers candidly:

“That could be an answer that takes an hour. The entire making of this show has been a massive learning experience for everyone involved. We had no idea what we were getting into. No one else did, either.”

The Rings of Power - harfoots

It also discusses the importance of the show to Amazon, and the streamer’s early attitude to reviews with studio chief Jen Salke:

“Obviously, it is incredibly important that this be successful. But this is a company that takes giant swings all the time, and they’re not afraid of risk.”

And those early reviews?

“Having insight into our global audience, we also have insight into the darker sides of how people can manipulate reviews and have other points of view that we wouldn’t support.”

As we said, the piece is a fascinating read.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power lands on Fridays at Prime Video.

Episode 7 ‘The Eye’ lands today, with the first season finale next Friday, October 14th.