Lord of the Rings showrunners reveal what can be adapted in the Amazon series – and whats off the table

The Lord of the Rings TV show showrunners have revealed what can be adapted in the upcoming series – and what can’t.

The show is set in the Second Age, which is long before the events of Peter Jackson’s films and the likes of Frodo and Aragorn. 

“We have the rights solely to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the appendices, and The Hobbit,” J.D. Payne told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab). “And that is it. We do not have the rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, or any of those other books.”

As for how the show can adapt the Second Age without using all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s material, Patrick McKay explained. “There’s a version of everything we need for the Second Age in the books we have the rights to,” he said. “As long as we’re painting within those lines and not egregiously contradicting something we don’t have the rights to, there’s a lot of leeway and room to dramatize and tell some of the best stories that [Tolkien] ever came up with.”

Added Payne: “We worked in conjunction with world-renowned Tolkien scholars and the Tolkien estate to make sure that the ways we connected the dots were Tolkienian and gelled with the experts’ and the estate’s understanding of the material.”

The showrunners also referenced their sources: the songs “The Fall of Gil-galad” and “The Song of Eärendil,” The Council of Elrond and The Shadow of the Past chapters in The Fellowship of the Ring, and the Concerning Hobbits part of the prologue.

The series recently dropped a teaser trailer during the Super Bowl, showcasing epic journeys, huge battles, and sweeping landscapes – along with familiar characters Galadriel and Elrond.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power arrives on Prime Video this September 2, 2022. In the meantime, check out our guide to the best shows on Amazon Prime to fill out your watchlist.

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