Author Topic: LORD OF THE RINGS-AMAZON SERIES!  (Read 1435 times)

Offline MissAngel

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« on: March 12, 2019, 06:05:52 PM »
Ive been deeply following the trend of this new series Amazon has attained.. Because its going to focus on a younger Aragorn, Im wondering if the Elves will still be relevant (as in Elrond, Legolas, Arwen, etc) I thought we could start this topic in case of developing stories come about. Its not slated to shoot until 2020-2021.

by Erik Amaya | February 19, 2019 |

When Amazon Prime Video announced its Lord of the Rings prequel series back in 2017, news about what the expansive TV universe would include was scarce. And we had so many questions: Will there be Hobbits? Galadriel? Ian McKellen? Will Peter Jackson be involved?

The streaming service has since hired writers, is now scouting locations, and even activated social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the show, which published a provocative and beautifully rendered map of Middle-earth, the fictional realm in which J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novel takes place.

Considering that the series is the key jewel in the service’s iron crown of proposed big-budget genre shows, here’s a closer look at what we know about the show so far and what Amazon’s teasing with the map may indicate about the eventual program.
While it seems obvious a series based on The Lord of the Rings would take place relatively contemporaneous to the events of Tolkien’s novel, that is not as much as a given as one might think. In Tolkien’s wider mythological framework, LOTR’s titular character, the Dark Lord Sauron, is nearly as old as the universe itself — which means the series could take place in any of the historical ages of Middle-earth (or even the earlier prehistory when the world was shaped by beings with even greater power than Sauron).

But Amazon’s map renders a number of geographic features specific to the Third Age, including the East Bight of Mirkwood Forest, a square-ish indentation next to the “I” and “N” in “Rhovanion.” The bight was the result of deforestation by a group of Northmen circa 1200 years into the Third Age as they settled in the region. Additionally, the forest would only become known as Mirkwood once Sauron sought refuge there, around 1050 of the Third Age, and his malignant spirit infected the woods formerly known as Greenwood the Great. Other aspects of the map — like the complete lack of Beleriand from the First Age and the use of “Calenardhon” to denote the region near Isengard and Fangorn Forest — definitely set it, and the series, in a Third Age context.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, 2001 (©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
Click to open The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring map from 2001 in a new window.

Of course, fans were hoping to see some of the great stories from earlier days dramatized with Amazon’s production values. Stories like the sinking of Númenor — Tolkien’s take on the Atlantis myth, in which Sauron corrupted an island of seafaring men to invade the forbidden shores of the world’s far West — and the founding of the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor could make for some spectacular television. But it seems Amazon and developers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have a more specific, later Third Age tale in mind.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, Viggo Mortensen, 2003, (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)
Rumors emerged in May 2018 indicating that the series would focus on the adventures of a young Aragorn, the eventual king of Gondor, played by Viggo Mortensen (pictured above) in Peter Jackson’s film series. As a descendant of Númenórean survivors, his lifespan is much longer than a typical man of Middle-earth. Indeed, he is said to be roughly 90 years old during the events of The Lord of the Rings and dies in Tolkien’s chronology at the ripe old age of 210 — which means the series could take place almost a century before the novel (should he prove to be the protagonist).

Up until the War of the Ring, Aragorn traveled far and wide, including into the far eastern regions of Middle-earth that Tolkien only ever sketched in the barest detail. Amazon’s map features a region to the east of Rhûn that never appears on maps Tolkien drew himself. Some fans quickly suggested this may be the region near the Orocarni Mountains, where Dwarves once resided in the First Age. But it could just as easily be a region settled by Easterlings, a faction of men loyal to Sauron for centuries. In some of Tolkien’s supplementary material, it is written that Aragorn journeyed to the lands of the East and South specifically to learn the “plots and devices” of the enemy. It could be great story material, and Amazon’s decision to illustrate a heretofore unseen land suggests this far-flung place will matter.

Note, however, that use of the name “Calenardhon” for the region typically referred to as Rohan could suggest a story set earlier in the Third Age than Aragorn’s times; specifically, some 500 years earlier, when settlers in the region helped repel an Orc invasion of Northern Gondor. As a thanks for their help, the Steward of Gondor gave them the Calenardhon parcel, which subsequently became known as Rohan. Other events around that time include one of Sauron’s early attempts to reclaim his dominance in Middle-earth, the formation of the Council of the Wise, and Sméagol’s discovery of the One Ring. But as this era lacks a strong central protagonist like Aragorn, we’re not sure if printing “Calenardhon” on the map is a deep pull clue or a blind alley.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, Liv Tyler, 2001 photo: New Line/Courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by New Line/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Thanks to the way Tolkien mapped out the longevity of certain characters, there are a handful of Lord of the Rings figures Aragorn will encounter in his journeys should the series revolve around him. Elrond (played by Hugo Weaving in the films) took Aragorn in as a child after Orcs killed his father Arathorn. The Elf Lord renamed him Estel and hid the boy’s royal lineage from him until the proper time, after which Aragorn began his journeys as a Dúnedain Ranger. Those days in Rivendell helped form the man he would become — and offered him the first of his many aliases — and it would be hard to imagine the series not flashing back to those times.

Shortly after Aragorn began traveling as a Ranger, he met Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen in the film series), a character whose history is a little wilder as he originates from those forbidden Western shores and is nearly as old as Sauron himself. Both are part of an ancient order of spirits known as the Maiar, beings roughly analogous to angels of Christian mythology. They typically serve a higher order called the Valar, and figure in tales from the First Age of Middle-earth. But in the Second and Third Ages, the Valar sent five of these Maiar to assist and inspire the Free Peoples in the coming war with Sauron. Cloaking them in the guises of frail old men, they took on the roles of Wizards and came to be known as the Istari. All of them except their leader Saruman (Christopher Lee in the movies) wandered far across the land with Gandalf taking a special interest in people like Aragorn. The two adventured together at times, suggesting a role for the popular character on the series.

One last character likely to appear at some point is Elrond’s daughter Arwen (Liv Tyler, pictured above, in the films). Upon Aragorn’s return from the East, he stopped in Elven realm Lothlórien – ruled by Galadriel and Celeborn (Cate Blanchett and Marton Csokas in the films), who could also appear in the series. There, he met Arwen, who is also Galadriel’s granddaughter, among its golden woods for a second time and fell in love. The story of their courtship is told in one of the appendices to The Lord of the Rings and echoes Tolkien’s other great love story, “Of Beren and Luthien,” in many respects. Of course, a key criticism of Aragorn and Arwen’s story is her distance from The Lord of the Rings. Where Luthien spends much of her story in the action, Arwen spends most of the War of the Ring far from battle. Like the films, it will be necessary to give her more of a role in Aragorn’s great journeys.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, 2013. ©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
First, a caveat: This might be mere speculation, but there are few characters in the young Aragorn timeframe Tolkien fans would love to see in the Amazon series. Returning to that curious region in the far East and the topic of the Istari, two of their number, the Blue Wizards, immediately trekked to the East as part of their mission in Middle-earth. Only mentioned in Tolkien’s unfinished tales, they either succumbed to Sauron’s influence or died as they failed to sway the Easterlings away from the Dark Lord. Presuming Amazon’s deal with the Tolkien estate includes unfinished material like the tale of the wizards, they would be ideal characters to utilize in the series. They could be villains, fallen heroes or anything in between. They could even be Aragorn’s guides in the East. And as their role in the War of the Ring was never revealed, they offer the series’ writers greater flexibility in the storytelling and characters without predefined destinies.

Another character worthy of inclusion is the legendary Elf hero Glorfindel. While he died during the Fall of Gondolin in the First Age of Middle-earth, he eventually returned from the Undying Lands in the West of the world, possibly alongside the Blue Wizards, to aid both men and Elves in their struggle against Sauron during the Second Age. He makes a notable appearance early in The Lord of the Rings helping to deliver Frodo to Rivendell. But after attending the Council of Elrond, he drops out of the narrative until Aragorn’s wedding to Arwen. In lieu of offering him his cameo appearance, filmmakers substituted him with recurring characters in the story. Jackson replaced him with Arwen — giving her an early heroic moment — while Bakshi subbed in Legolas, an equally valid choice when bringing Tolkien’s epic story to life. Nonetheless, he is an interesting character out in the wide world during the period indicated on the map and fans would be thrilled to see him.

Other characters definitely alive at the time include Tom Bombadil — he himself suggests he’s the oldest consciousness in the world — Elrond’s sons Elohir and Elladan, Legolas, Thorin Oakenshield and his company in the Blue Mountains, and agents of the mysterious Sharky, who was no doubt beginning his operations by the point Aragorn was journeying across the land. And considering Gandalf told Aragorn to visit the Shire, it is always possible we will see him enjoying some Halfling hospitality.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, Smaug (voice: Benedict Cumberbatch), 2014. /©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
Aragorn will also face some of Sauron’s forces during this time, even if named antagonists like Shelob, Smaug, and the Balrog in Moria are in various states of hibernation in the century leading up to the War of the Ring.

One tale of Aragorn’s youth sees him entering his eventual capital city of Minas Tirith. Using the name “Thorongil” during this adventure, he becomes an adviser to the then Steward of Gondor — Boromir’s grandfather Echthelion II — and warns him of an attack from the Corsairs of Umbar, the same group whose ships Aragorn uses to enter the area around Minas Tirith during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields a few decades later.

And it is also possible Aragorn might meet some of the Ringwraiths. They were active by the 2950s of the Third Age and engaged in a hunt for both Gollum and the One Ring. After a few false starts and Saruman misleading them, they eventually learned the location of the Shire. But they were prevented from crossing into the region thanks to the intervention of the Dúnedain Rangers. According to Tolkien’s texts, Aragorn was unable to join the rangers in this effort and they suffered heavy causalities as a result, but it is always possible the show will massage those aspects of the lore to include an early battle between Aragorn and the Nazgûl.

Beyond that, there are plenty of tribes of Dunlending wildmen — a constant issue in Rohan — and others who could pose threats to Aragorn as he learns about Middle-earth in his travels. And again, that eastern region on the map suggests a visit with the Easterlings, a group unambiguously aligned with the Enemy.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke speaks during the Amazon Prime Video Session of the 2019 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on February 13, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
While Amazon recently began teasing the series with the map, Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke told reporters in February that the streaming service has “no timetable” to release the series. Previously, she expressed a hope to see the first season on their service by 2021. Nonetheless, earlier reports indicated the deal with the Tolkien estate requires the series be in production by 2020. Additionally, that deal includes a five-season commitment and the potential for a spin-off, so those hoping for First Age tales may eventually get their wish.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, 2003, (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)
Not as of February 2019. Some early reports indicated Amazon was in talks with Jackson and Warner Bros. Pictures to maintain the visual aesthetic from Jackson’s film series, but he has not signed on in an official capacity. Nonetheless, Salke said she would be thrilled to have him on board.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, 2001
(Photo by (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)
Watch this space. Considering the way Amazon is teasing the series, casting announcements may begin to appear soon, which will also give us a better understanding of the journey Amazon will actually take. The rumored Aragorn focus seems credible, but it is still possible the series will center on some other aspect of the Rings of Power in the Third Age.