Time has published a long article on the making of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The Amazon series inspired by the writings of JRR Tolkien that will debut on Prime Video on September 2 (at 3am). The service is accompanied by some portraits of the cast, which you can see below.

It is already known, because it has been widely heralded by Amazon, that The Rings of Power is the most expensive series of all time. In her article, Eliana Dockterman reports that the first season cost $ 468 million, plus marketing costs – the Super Bowl trailer slot should have cost around $ 13 million. Shooting for the second season, scheduled for October, will take the project’s budget over $ 1 billion. To make some comparison: the final season of Game of Thrones cost 90 million, the fourth of Stranger Things 270 million. Amazon has made a bet to create a project that, unlike hits like The Boysand The Fantastic Mrs. Maisel , knows how to invite “the whole family”, as explains the head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke . In her words, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is “the jewel in the crown”.

Very little pressure! All on the shoulders of two showrunners with little experience behind them, JD Payne and Patrick McKay , former employees of JJ Abrams ‘ Bad Robot who, as they explain, won the job because they pointed out how Amazon sat on a gold mine. That is, the appendices to The Lord of the Rings written by Tolkien. “We beat people who would have preferred to give the job because this was the show.” Not the prequel about the young Aragorn, or the near-young Gandalf, that others had proposed, but a series about the rise of Sauron and the birth of the Rings of Power, set about three thousand years before the trilogy.

Payne and McKay, super-nerd Tolkien fans, then surrounded themselves with seasoned professionals – such as director JA Bayona for the first two episodes, Simon Tolkien , nephew of the writer, as a consultant and Peter Jackson’s Weta for practical effects and visuals – and a writers’ room made up of both Tolkien experts and neophytes. This allowed the authors not to be too slavish in the adaptation: “Amazon took a big risk in betting on us, that, from the outside, we might not seem like the safest bet,” says McKay. “I think it’s a good thing. Today we tend to be a little too safe with storytelling ”.

Certain choices are already discussing part of the fandom even before the airing of the series. For example, the fact that Ismael Cruz Córdova, a black Puerto Rican, has been chosen to play an elf (Arondir). Córdova, a fan of the saga, says that his dream, since he was a child, was to play an elf. “When I said I wanted to be an elf, they told me that elves don’t look like me. When I learned about the character in this series, I took it as a mission ”. Córdova did several auditions before finally landing the role. But the veil of secrecy on the series was such that neither he nor any other actors had been told what role they were auditioning for. He thought he would play a man along the lines of Aragorn. “They invited me to New Zealand and, the night before my last audition, they said, ‘You’re actually going to play an elf.'”

Morfydd Clark , who plays Galadriel, also hopes this role will have an impact on the younger generation, in terms of portraying women in a male-dominated world: “It’s not like he read the novels and thought ‘I wish there were more female characters. ‘, because I took it for granted that this was the case at the time. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those women who spat metaphorical blood to get to this point. I hope that the young people, watching the series, will think: ‘That’s just the way it is’ ”.

As we know, the production of the series was halted by the pandemic after just twenty-five days of shooting. New Zealand closed its borders and, thus, cast and crew found themselves living in isolation in a foreign land, while at home (for most of them, the United Kingdom) their relatives gave birth to children, celebrated birthdays and , in some cases, they died. Executive producer Lindsey Weber says, “There was a great human cost. They could not go home or bring their family members. They found themselves in the position of having to decide between work and family, a humanly difficult thing while the whole world was going through a great trauma ”.

Eventually, after various ups and downs, the eight-episode first season was completed. The second, perhaps also as a reaction to these unpredictable events, will be shot in the UK. Jeff Bezos is keen to let fans of the novels know that this project was not designed just to have a well-known brand that would attract new subscribers: “Middle-earth is a much loved world and to tell the story of how the Rings were forged. of Power is a privilege and a responsibility. I hope we will do Tolkien’s work justice. Here we go beyond the idea of ​​making a commercially successful series. Everyone involved in the show read these stories as kids. We left our hearts there ”.