After a long wait, Amazon Prime Video has finally released the first look images from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The pictures, which reveal many of the show’s main cast and the gorgeous fantasy locations, went up courtesy of a Vanity Fair story, and were shared via Instagram:

 

 

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“Amazon’s show, which debuts on Prime Video on September 2,” explains Anthony Breznican and Joanna Robinson, “is based not on a Tolkien novel per se but on the vast backstory he laid out in the appendices to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

There are plenty of amazing characters to unpack here. So let’s get started!

 

Characters Returning From The Original Trilogy

Galadriel played by Morfydd Clark

The first character we get to see is Galadriel—Queen of the Elves. While her original trilogy appearance (played by Cate Blanchett) was a ‘wise, ethereal’ entity with 1000s of years behind her, the much-younger version of the character we see in Rings of Power is entirely different.

Played by Morfydd Clark, we see a brash, firebrand leader willing to serve her people by the sword, clad entirely in a set of heavy armour and shown walking through what appears to be a city under siege. The show takes on several viewpoints across 22 different characters across a variety of fan favourite locations. It, however, seems that much of the action will be viewed through Galadriel’s eyes, as a key figure of Middle-Earth’s Second Age.

Elrond played by Robert Aramayo

We also get to see one of Peter Jackson’s favourite characters, Elrond, make a comeback. Played by Hugo Weaving in the older films, Elrond was introduced to us as the ruler of Rivendell—an Elf-dominated sanctuary that was central to many plot threads across the three movies.

This time, the legendary half-elf will be played by Robert Aramayo. Although Elrond was already a key figure in Elven politics and warfare during the Second Age, this time we see him as a young, ambitious political scion— playing games of intrigue and diplomacy within the Elven aristocracy. This is a fairly major departure from the Tolkiens’ original stories and suggests that the show will be taking some liberties with the source material.

 

New Introductions to Middle-Earth

Halbrand played by Charlie Vickers

With its ludicrous, record-shattering $1 billion budget, the show also has the capacity, talent, and manpower to tell entirely new stories and branch out the ‘LOTR Cinematic Universe,’ as it were. Part of this means introducing a host of new characters—some entirely new, while others have existed in the several volumes of additional lore published by J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, Christopher Tolkien.

For instance, take Halbrand (pictured above and played by Charlie Vickers), a fugitive on the run who crosses paths with Galadriel. The two find themselves clawing for survival on a raft around the second episode, as one character fights for the future while the other tries to escape his dark past.

Durin IV and Princess Disa, played by Owain Arthur and Sophia Nomvete

The story also takes us deep into classic locations like the Mines of Moria—the epicentre of the dwarven kingdom that we see in ruins during the events of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Here, we’re introduced to the previously unexplored world of dwarves, through characters such as dwarven prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), pictured above respectively.

Bronwyn and Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova and Nazanin Boniadi

Along with Disa’s inclusive casting, elf Arondir will be played by Ismael Cruz Córdova—the first person of colour to play an elf in Tolkien’s world. A brand-new character written for the show, his story will showcase a whirlwind forbidden romance with a human healer named Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi).

Clearly, the casting for this series has been refreshingly diverse, with a host of ethnicities populating an originally whitewashed world.

“It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like,” says Lindsey Weber, executive producer of the series. “Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about his fictional races doing their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is set to debut on Amazon Prime Video on September 2nd, 2022.

 

(Featured Image Credits: Amazon Studios)