Movies & TV

LOTR: The Rings of Power Isn't Even Out Yet, But Amazon Already Planned All Five Seasons

The first season alone cost $465 million. 
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Amazon Studios has already spent half a billion dollars on the first season of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and it’s planning on spending even more. Even though The Rings of Power isn’t scheduled to be released until September this year, the studio has already outlined the entire plot of the show until season five. After spending $250 million to purchase the rights to make the series and $465 million to make season one, Amazon is clearly making sure its hefty investment was worth it. 

Unlike streamers Netflix and HBO Max, Amazon Prime is privileged in that it doesn’t need to worry about whether a show might get axed after a season for low ratings. Being tied to one of the world’s biggest conglomerates is no doubt a boon on the financial front. Since the beginning, The Rings of Power was planned to run for five whole seasons—and it’s all been mapped out. 

“We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be,” said showrunner J.D. Payne to Empire. “The rights that Amazon bought were for a 50-hour show. They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas—this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until season five.”

The Rings of Power won’t just be a run-of-the-mill spin-off. It’s set to be a fully-fledged franchise, with a budget that’s already bigger than each of the original LOTR and Hobbit films. As for the plot, The Rings of Power leans heavily on the footnotes of J.R.R. Tolkein’s works—particularly The Silmarillion—to create a story in the LOTR universe that is yet to be told. Set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit trilogy and the original LOTR trilogy, The Rings of Power will follow the first rise of Sauron and the last alliance of elves and men. The show is also expected to cover the fall of Numenor and the creation of the rings of power the show is named after. 

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Photo by AMAZON STUDIOS.

“It was like Tolkien put some stars in the sky and let us make out the constellations,” explained Payne. “In his letters [particularly in one to his publisher], Tolkien talked about wanting to leave behind a mythology that ‘left scope for other minds and hands, wielding the tools of paint, music, and drama.’ We’re doing what Tolkien wanted. As long as we felt like every invention of ours was true to his essence, we knew we were on the right track.”

According to Payne’s co-showrunner Patrick McKay, The Rings of Power producers, writers, and directors are just “custodians” of Tolkien’s extended mythology. We can only imagine how these LOTR fans expanded the beloved universe of J.R.R. Tolkien. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon Prime on September 2.  

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Anri Ichimura
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