The time is drawing near: Lovers of the pioneering books and arguably compelling movie franchises are bursting with anticipation for the release of the highly awaited The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. If you didn’t already know ( which I highly doubt), J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth served as inspiration for the fantasy role-playing miniseries Rings of Power.
The Lord of the Rings installments, its prequel The Hobbit, and a number of shorter novels that patch in plot holes and delve into the enormous mythology of this realm are all canonical works set in this world. The showrunners have a lot of room to work with since Middle-earth is among the most complex fictional settings ever imagined. While this is fantastic news for Tolkien’s most devoted followers, others who are just becoming acquainted with the mythology may worry that they might be left behind.
A lot of people are looking forward to this episode, but the storyline details haven’t been widely disseminated, so they could have missed something important. One of the most widely held beliefs on the internet is that the miniseries will follow the arc of the original trilogy.
Events from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit appear to be completely off-limits for the show, which makes sense given the near-universal acclaim that Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptations of these works have received. The debate now is whether or not this is a precursor or follow-up to the well-known series of novels on which it is based.
In a nutshell: it’s a little bit of both. Warner Bros. as well as the Tolkien estate plunged into litigation after the release of The Hobbit films, but it was resolved amicably. The estate started shopping around the media licensing to the book and finally settled on Amazon’s Prime Video.
This means the original foundation of the miniseries was the books themselves. Nevertheless, as filming progressed, Prime Video aimed to further match or unite their series with the hugely popular movie, even approaching Peter Jackson about coming to direct the show. In the end, they formed a partnership with Warner Bros.
Put simply, the trilogy takes place in Middle- earth’s Second Age, tens of thousands of years prior to the original movie installments. For those who haven’t gone through the books or seen the movies, this means the plotline is complete.
Nevertheless, due to the series’ closeness to the movies and Jackson’s reverence for the original source, viewers would benefit from viewing the LOTR film trilogy before diving into the series.
The TV series will presumably defer mostly to Tolkien’s writings, but it seems to be at least trying to emulate the style of Jackson’s trilogy. With that stated, the films’ immense praise and appeal suggest that fans will enjoy seeing them even though they aren’t required to.