When it comes to big-budget franchise shows, both Amazon and HBO have some exciting projects in the works. Amazon's long-awaited Lord of the Rings series, which is titled Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, is premiering in September and HBO's Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, is expected to premiere in August. This week, it was reported that House of the Dragon has a per-episode budget that was higher than Game of Thrones' entire final season. However, that $20 million per episode has got nothing on The Rings of Power. According to Variety, Amazon's series cost approximately $465 million to produce its eight-episode first season, which puts each episode at nearly $60 million.
For comparison, Game of Thrones cost about $6 million per episode when the series began and rose to $15 million per episode for the final season. The upcoming fourth season of Netflix's Stranger Things reportedly cost $30 million per episode. While Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power certainly has the highest budget of the upcoming shows, it's clear that all three streaming services are willing to shell out a bunch of money.
Not much is known about the plot of House of the Dragon, but the series is expected to follow Game of Thrones' iconic Targaryen family. The series stars Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Matt Smith, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, Ryan Corr, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, and Graham McTavish. You can read HBO's official House of the Dragon synopsis below:
"The prequel series finds the Targaryen dynasty at the absolute apex of its power, with more than 15 dragons under their yoke. Most empires-real and imagined-crumble from such heights. In the case of the Targaryens, their slow fall begins almost 193 years before the events of Game of Thrones, when King Viserys Targaryen breaks with a century of tradition by naming his daughter Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne. But when Viserys later fathers a son, the court is shocked when Rhaenyra retains her status as his heir, and seeds of division sow friction across the realm."
As for Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the series is set thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, 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.
The show's full cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO Max on August 21st. Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is coming to Prime Video on September 2nd.