Growing up, I have always found comfort in watching Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, even if it took me nine and a half hours to finish all three films. Watching Tolkien's work come to life was always a joyful experience. The cultural impact of Lord of the Rings was so great that it inspired many other fictional works, one of them being George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones. Now imagine the anticipation and expectation from the fans when Amazon Prime suddenly announced their new series called The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will premiere in September 2022. Tolkien's fandom was buzzing with excitement, including myself.
The series will tell the stories of the Second Age, 2000 years before the formation of the fellowship. Fans are still speculating which specific events will be included in the series; since the Second Age spans almost 3500 years. But what we do know is that the Second Age provides crucial backgrounds for events that happened during the legendary trilogy. Some of these events include the rise and fall of Númenor the legendary empire built by Aragorn's ancestors, the rise of Sauron's power, the forging of the rings by the Elven-smith Celebrimbor, and Sauron's defeat by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men which signals the end of Second Age.
Since the announcement, they have released 23 character posters and a one-minute Super Bowl teaser trailer that gives us major clues of the key characters and settings of the story. Most likely, we will not see wizards and hobbits in this series since they're not the key players in the Second Age. But some familiar characters from the trilogy will return as their younger selves. From these promotional materials, it is confirmed that the younger version of Lady Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark) and Lord Elrond (played by Robert Aramayo) will become one of the central figures in this series. Different from the ethereal elven queen that we're familiar with, in this teaser Galadriel was depicted as a fierce warrior. The Elven-King Gil-Galad will also make an appearance. Aside from the characters, we will also see several important locations, the Elven capital of Lindon and dwarves' stronghold of Khazad-dûm or commonly known as Moria, to name a few.
Since Tolkien did not publish a novel for the Second Age, the material for this show will be based on Appendices which include a timeline of events, genealogy, and cultural information that serves as a background. So unlike the trilogy, the showrunners eventually would have to improvise a little bit on structuring the story that spans thousands of years into a limited number of episodes. The show has introduced new characters such as; the dwarven princess Disa (played by Sophia Nomvete) and the wood-elf Arondir (played by Ismael Cruz Córdova). Another significant difference from the trilogy is that these original characters will be played by people of color, contrary to the all-white casts of the previous adaptation.
The presence of these new characters received mixed responses from the fans. Some fans are disappointed because they feel this new adaptation will not stay true to the original material by becoming "woke". On the other hand, some fans are appreciating the showrunners for finally bringing diversity and representation into the adaptation. Responding to the backlash, executive producer Lindsey Weber told Vanity Fair that the adaptation for Tolkien's work should reflect what the world actually looks like and that "Tolkien is for everyone".
The majority of the fandom also commented that the teaser doesn't feel like Lord of the Rings; they feared this new series would turn up like Game of Thrones. Fans have flooded the YouTube comment sections with a quote from Tolkien, "Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt and ruin good forces have invented or made," signaling their disappointment and skepticism towards this new series. It may seem unfair for fans to be deciding that this show will not be worthy of our appreciation when all we were given was 23 character posters and a one-minute teaser trailer. For me, I'm just excited to be able to finally see Middle-earth again after so many years.