A new TV spot for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been released by Prime Video, and it comes with the tagline that "Nothing is evil in the beginning...". It's a small but evocative tease of what will make this prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien's books so (controversially) different: a world and its people that are all more complex than the good and evil tale that Tolkien told in Lord of the RIngs.
Promotional images and footage for The Rings of Power have stirred early buzz – not all of it good. The prequel series shows versions of races like orcs, early Hobbits, and elves – not to mention one or two iconic figures – that are very different than what fans have seen before. That's because at the time the series takes place (thousands of years before LOTR), "good" and "evil" are not easy binary concepts represented by rings. Every race has its own culture and politics, and even the orcs will be more complicated than the brute henchman we know them to be:
"We spent a lot of time talking about what it would mean to be an Orc in the Second Age," executive producer Lindsey Weber shared with IGN. "It felt appropriate that their look would be different, part of a wilder, more raw, Second Age, Middle-earth, closer to where the First Age ends. As we meet them, they're not yet organized into armies, they're a little more scattered and they've been scavenging. So it's just a different time in their total story."
For all the backlash The Rings of Power has gotten from some hardcore Tolkien fans, the show is being rather faithful to the text Tolkien himself wrote about the history of Middle-earth. Early response from a select few of those hardcore (and even degree-holding) Tolkien fans who have screened the TV series is also pretty positive:
"@LOTROnPrime had me and @tolkienprof to London last week to see bits of the #RingsofPower, Tolkien's Oxford, & to meet the show runners, who kept up with the best of us. Their passion & knowledge made me feel like they were one of us; they get it. I'm feeling very optimistic!" wrote Dr. Maggie Parke, PhD, a self-proclaimed "expert in fan management Script, story, and novel development... Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Twilight, Fantasy and adaptation In general..."
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place 1,000 years before Lord of the Rings and is set during Middle-earth's Second Age. It begins during a time of relative peace following the defeat of Morgoth, Sauron's master. The series chronicles the lives and adventures of its ensemble cast and promises to visit the Misty Mountains, the forest elf-capital of Lindon, and the shores of the island kingdom of Númenor.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is currently planned for a five-season arc. It premieres on Prime Video on September 2nd.