– Launched on Prime Video in September 2022
– Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary novels
– Set during Middle-earth’s Second Age
– Developed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay
– 23-strong cast including Galadriel and Elrond
– Season 1 reportedly cost $465 million
– Amazon plans to make five seasons
The Rings of Power season 1 is available to stream on Prime Video. The high fantasy series, which acts as a prequel series to J.R.R Tolkien’s legendary Lord of the Rings book series, landed on Amazon’s streaming platform on September 2. So, if you somehow missed it as it released weekly, you can watch it in its entirety now.
Before you load it up, though, be sure to read our spoiler-free Rings of Power review. Once you’ve read that and streamed the series, we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s one of the best Prime Video shows around. Then, get reading our Rings of Power season 2 guide to get the latest on the wildly popular show’s next entry.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. You’re here because you want to know everything about The Rings of Power season 1. Below, you’ll find everything worth knowing about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings, including its trailers, cast, plot details, and more. So, get cracking!
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power release date
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power launched on Prime Video on Friday, September 2. All eight episodes are available to stream now, as well as a docuseries on The Rings of Power season 1’s development.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power trailer
Amazon released a bunch of teasers and trailers in the build-up to The Rings of Power’s release. The latest, which you can view above, arrived a few weeks ahead of the show’s launch.
Meanwhile, its first official trailer made landfall in August 2022, and you can see that one below:
Missed the other two teasers earlier this year? Check out one that arrived in July 2022 as part of Comic-Con 2022:
Finally, you can also watch the very first teaser, which was released in February 2022, below:
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power cast
Here’s the cast list for The Rings of Power (minus any spoiler-based character reveals):
- Morfydd Clark as Galadriel
- Robert Aramayo as Elrond
- Owain Arthur as Durin IV
- Sophia Nomvete as Disa
- Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent Míriel
- Lloyd Owen as Elendil
- Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn
- Ema Horvath as Eärien
- Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir
- Charles Edwards as Celebrimbor
- Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad
- Maxim Baldry as Isildur
- Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn
- Charlie Vickers as Halbrand
- Daniel Weyman as The Stranger
- Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows
- Markella Kavenagh as Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot
- Megan Richards as Poppy Proudfellow
- Dylan Smith as Largo Brandyfoot
- Sara Zwangobani as Marigold Brandyfoot
- Will Fletcher as Finrod
- Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo
- Leon Wadham as Kemen
- Joseph Mawle as Adar
Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud) plays Galadriel, who begins the series as the commander of the Northern Armies, which aims to track down the agents of Morgoth and Sauron, who killed her elven brothers.
Speaking of the elves, there will be famous and not-so-famous faces in the series. Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones) is the legendary elf Elrond who, when the show starts, is the young – in Elven terms, anyway – Herald to elven High King Gil-galad, who is portrayed by Benjamin Walker (Jessica Jones). Charles Edwards (The Crown) is Celebrimbor, the elven smith who creates the Rings of Power for Sauron. Although, the Dark Lord is disguised at the time, and manipulates Celebrimbor into forging them.
In his first major acting role, Will Fletcher plays Finrod, one of Galadriel’s brothers. Ismael Cruz Córdova (The Undoing) plays a brand-new elven character called Arondir, a Southlands elf who has a secret, forbidden relationship with another new character – a human healer called Bronwyn, who’s portrayed by Nazanin Boniadi (How I Met Your Mother). Tyroe Muhafidin will play Bronwyn’s son Theo, who finds a mysterious sword that could play a key role in the show’s plot.
Owain Arthur (Casualty) is Prince Durin IV, the eventual dwarven king of Khazad-dûm. Newcomer Sophia Nomvete plays the first female dwarf in a live-action Lord of the Rings project called Princess Disa.
Isildur – who sets The Lord of the Rings’ events in motion when he refused to destroy the One Ring – is part of proceedings. He’s played by Maxim Baldry (Years and Years). When we first meet him, he’s a Númenorian sailor and not the warrior who ends Sauron’s tightening grip on Middle-earth in the Second Age. Lloyd Owen (Monarch of the Glen) is Elendil, the future High King of Gondor and Arnor. Ema Horvath (What Lies Below) plays Eärien, an original character and Elendil’s daughter.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow) plays Queen Regent Míriel, who leads Númenor at the start of the show. Trystan Gravelle (A Discovery of Witches) is Míriel’s advisor Pharazôn, who has a big role to play in Númenor’s eventual downfall. His son Kemen is played by Leon Wadham (The Bad Seed). Lastly on the human front, Charlie Vickers (Medici) plays Halbrand, who is said to be on the run from his past.
Markella Kavenagh (The Cry) and Megan Richards (Wanderlust) play Nori Brandyfoot and Poppy Proudfellow, two harfoots, i.e. one of three nomadic races of proto-Hobbit. Sara Zwangobani (Home and Away) and Dylan Smith (Into the Badlands) portray Marigold and Largo Brandyfoot respectively. Additionally, Lenny Henry (Doctor Who, Harry Potter) is an elder harfoot called Sadoc Burrows.
Finally, Daniel Weyman (Gentleman Jack) is The Stranger, an unnamed character who crash lands on Middle-earth after arriving in a meteor, and is rescued by Nori and Poppy. Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones) also portrays one of the show’s antagonists called Adar.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power plot
In January 2021, TheOneRing.net revealed Amazon Studios’ official synopsis for the series:
Our servers haven’t crashed & burned like this since 2003, so here’s the official show synopsis for Amazon’s LORD OF THE RINGS series. 📺 #LOTRonPrime pic.twitter.com/O9k0Q8VkuzJanuary 13, 2021
That doesn’t give much away, but showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay teased more of how they approached The Rings of Power’s overarching narrative.
McKay told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab): “[It’s the story of] The forging of the rings. Rings for the elves, rings for dwarves, rings for men, and then the one ring Sauron used to deceive them all. It’s the story of the creation of all those powers, where they came from, and what they did to each of those races. [We thought] ‘Can we come up with the novel Tolkien never wrote and do it as the mega-event series that could only happen now?’”
Similarities between Amazon’s TV series and Peter Jackson’s award-winning movie trilogy have been a hot topic of discussion since the show’s announcement. And The Rings of Power’s showrunners were acutely aware of doing justice to the live-action films that have come before. “Can you imagine going back to such a beloved world and facing the high bar of the Peter Jackson movies?” Payne told Vanity Fair. “We were, all the time, very aware of the massive expectations.” Elaborating on their take of the source material compared to Jackson’s, the duo said they “admired” his works but wouldn’t be looking to copy it. Given how iconic Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy is, that’s a smart move.
So when is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power set? It takes place during Middle-earth’s Second Age, which lasted for nearly 3,500 years and ended with Sauron’s defeat thanks to the Last Alliance of men and elves. This is the battle that opens The Fellowship of the Ring film, so it’s possible that we may see this adapted again in Amazon’s TV series. Given how central Sauron is set to be to the studio’s TV adaptation, we’re confident that it’ll be featured in the final episode or two of the entire series, whenever that may be.
The Rings of Power season 1: read our recaps
However, that’s a long way off. The Rings of Power will tell multiple storylines across various locations in Middle-earth, so it’ll take a while for the series to reach the large-scale battle that brings an end to the Second Age.
Additionally, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings has condensed the Second Age’s events into a shorter timeframe, so fans shouldn’t expect to see its characters aged up (or new actors used to portray them) in future seasons. Producer Lindsay Weber says that this’ll help to “delight” audiences who won’t know where the story is going (per Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe (opens in new tab)).
Galadriel and Halbrand’s chance encounter, which occurs in episode 2, is a sign of how much original content The Rings of Power contains. Per Vanity Fair, the show borrows from legendary author J.R.R. Tolkien’s Appendices – a 150-page post-Silmarillion document that contains thousands of years of Middle-earth’s history, various cultures, languages, and more.
Speaking to Vanity Fair (opens in new tab), Payne confirmed that Amazon doesn’t currently have the rights to The Silmarillion, so that novel won’t be adapted in any way. Still, it could be touched upon, as events centered around the Simarills (and the individuals who want to claim them as their own) are integral to the relationships between Middle-earth’s various races in the Second Age.
Regardless, there’s plenty of Middle-earth history The Rings of Power has to cover. Audiences will visit iconic locations including Númenor, Lindon, Khazad-dûm, and The Sundering Seas among others, and The Rings of Power’s concept artist Jon Howe claims we’ll see a Middle-earth that’s “very vibrant” and that viewers will “explore that unseen history” in Tolkien’s world. According to actor Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Númenor was a fully built, practical city (per Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe (opens in new tab)), so the show won’t be a fully green screen affair.
Payne and McKay also revealed that the series will follow “four or five big stories”.
The first sees Elrond visit Durin IV, Disa and the rest of Khazad-dûm’s dwarves in season 1. The elven statesman is on a visit to try and repair the elves’ relationship with the mountain-dwelling race, so expect plenty of tension and diplomacy to be on show. Speaking to Nerdist (opens in new tab), Benjamin Walker (who plays Gil-galad) also suggests his character will help Elrond become the elf we eventually know him to be. So expect plenty of elf-on-elf politicking and mentorship, too.
Next, we’ll see the rise of Sauron himself as a physical villain. This will play out over multiple seasons, but it’s clear that Morgoth’s former apprentice will loom large throughout. At some point, a disguised Sauron will enlist the help of elven smith Celebrimbor in forging the Rings of Power. In a chat with Fandom (opens in new tab), actor Charles Edwards said viewers should expect a Celebrimbor who’s “starting to doubt himself” which “makes him vulnerable to predators”.
Thirdly, the show charts the rise of Isildur, who ends Sauron’s initial reign of terror by severing the One Ring from his finger. It’ll also explore the rise and fall of Númenor and the Game of Thrones-style politicking that plays out over its throne. Finally, the fourth major plot arc will lead into the Last Alliance of men and elves, who unite in a bid to stop Sauron from becoming Middle-earth’s totalitarian ruler.
There’ll be plenty of subplots throughout, though. Nori and The Stranger, Arondir’s relationship with Bronwyn, and other side stories will appear frequently throughout each season. Interestingly, Nori and the Stranger’s subplot may even tease the arrival of the first Middle-earth wizards.
We may see some flashbacks to Middle-earth’s First Age, too. The first teaser supposedly shows Galadriel’s brother Finrod fighting Morgoth and Sauron’s forces, which takes place in the First Age when Morgoth was still alive. Expect First Age stories, or at least a prologue section in the series premiere, to form part of the show’s plot.
One particular aspect of Middle-earth’s history that’ll definitely be explored is the evolution of the orcs. Speaking to IGN (opens in new tab), executive producer Lindsay Weber explained how Amazon’s TV adaptation will show us a side of this race of creatures that we’ve not seen before – including the introduction of female orcs.
Speaking exclusively to TechRadar, McKay, and Weber also teased the series will be a goldmine for diehard Lord of the Rings fans looking for the smallest and most interesting details about Middle-earth and its inhabitants.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power cost
Amazon bought the rights to The Lord of the Rings TV show for $250 million in November 2017 (h/t Deadline (opens in new tab)), and it’s expected season 1’s entire production will cost a massive $1 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab). That makes The Rings of Power the most expensive series of all-time.
Per Total Film (thanks to Reddit (opens in new tab) for the catch), a fair amount of that money may have been spent on the 9,500 VFX shots in season 1. For context, that’s double the amount seen in The Witcher seasons 1 and 2, and almost triple the number in The Wheel of Time‘s first season.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power crew
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and A Monster Calls director J.A. Bayona led production on the show, while J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay boarded in July 2018 (h/t The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab)) to write and co-executively produce the show.
Other executive producers include Bayona, Lindsay Weber, Callum Greene, Jason Cahill, and Gennifer Hutchinson. Kate Hawley is lead costume designer, while chief concept artist Jon Howe is also part of the crew. Leith McPherson is the show’s dialect coach, while Ramsey Avery (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) is lead production designer. Simon Tolkien – the grandson of J.R.R Tolkien – acts as series consultant (via EW (opens in new tab)).
Bayona directed the series’ first two instalments, including the pilot episode. Hunters director Wayne Che Yip directed four of season 1’s eight episodes, while Charlotte Brändström (The Witcher, Jupiter’s Legacy) helmed the other two.
Howard Shore – who scored all six Lord of the Rings movies – has created The Rings of Power’s main titles theme. Shore previously spoke to TechRadar entertainment reporter Tom Power (during his freelance days) for Observer.com (opens in new tab), revealing that he hadn’t been contacted by scoring the show but “would consider it” if asked.
Bear McCreary (as confirmed by Amazon (opens in new tab)), whose extensive credits include Foundation, Black Mirror, See, Agents of SHIELD, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and 10 Cloverfield Lane, scored the rest of the show.
Finally, Peter Jackson was supposed to be involved in The Rings of Power’s development. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), though, Jackson says the show’s creative team ghosted him after seeking him out. However, Jackson isn’t too upset by that, stating he’s happy to watch Amazon’s Lord of the Rings as a fan instead.
The Rings of Power: future seasons and spin-offs
Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have plans for a five-season series, and they already know how it’ll end. Chatting to Empire (opens in new tab), Payne said: “We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be. The rights that Amazon bought were for a 50-hour show. They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas – this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle and end. There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until season 5.”
The Rings of Power season 2 began filming in the UK in October 2022. Different Time Magazine articles have confirmed two aspects of its development – first, that it’ll be helmed by an all-female directing line-up (opens in new tab) and, secondly, that it’ll mark the live-action debut of fan-favorite elven character Círdan (opens in new tab), one of the oldest and wisest elves in all of Middle-earth. He’s lived so long, in fact, that he’s grown a beard – a rarity for this Middle-earth race.
It’s unclear, though, if the other three seasons will be greenlit. The ball is in Amazon’s court and it’ll surely make a decision on future seasons depending on how audiences react to the first two.
Additionally, Variety (opens in new tab) reported Callum Greene – one of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings’ executive producers – signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios in March 2022. Could some of his forthcoming projects be centered around The Rings of Power?
Finally, Embracer Group – a Swedish videogame and media company – recently acquired the rights to Middle-earth Enterprises from the Saul Zaentz Company, so Embracer now owns the Lord of the Rings IP (per Deadline (opens in new tab)). Currently, it’s unclear how this will affect The Rings of Power and potential spin-off series, with executive producer Lindsey Weber telling TechRadar that she “can’t say” how the series will be impacted. Here’s hoping Amazon can provide an answer in the near future to ease any worries.