Official Amazon Prime LOTR reveals now include the recent 23 character torsos, a slick title reveal, a single frame image from episode 1 (but not even 2nd Age), a now one-year-old synopsis and a lovely map of wider Arda; all of which may have left Lord of the Rings fans puzzled as to what this billion-dollar TV show is really all about. We asked the fans to list their most burning current questions that we could ask the Showrunners, just 8 months before the show’s debut on September 2, 2022.

Two decades ago, previous Middle-earth director Peter Jackson famously took “20 Questions” direct from the online fandom on AICN; facing innocent inquiries on just about everything. He returned with surprisingly generous answers to assuage the broadest of fan curiosities: offering up the earliest details of what Weta Digital’s MASSIVE software could create and even addressing for the first time “How will Gollum be created?” (we had no idea yet what motion capture miracles Andy Serkis and WETA had in store for us). It was a genuine treat.

In honor of 23 poster images we submit these 23 Questions in that same spirit as twenty years ago.

What weighs heavily on a Ringer’s soul?

  1. Will there be singing in the show? Songs (and poetry) are a big part of Tolkien’s world.
  2. Describe the challenge in writing a show with such extensive established lore – that yet has the least full narrative written by Tolkien himself? How do your writers approach this?
  3. Will we see the various different types of beings within a race (example: Noldor Elves vs. Teleri Elves)?
  4. Where is Sexy Sauron? No, really; where?
  5. Will the production seek to film in other locations globally? 
  6. Why Harfoots? Did Halflings in the 2nd Age seem essential for continuity?
  7. Fans are mainly concerned if this show will be true to the lore – Who is the Lore expert(s) on the show?
  8. Will David Salo return as Languages expert?
  9. What percentage of characters will be Tolkien canon versus newly created for the show?
  10. Looks like this is shaping up to have the most diverse casting of any Tolkien adaptation as the scope of the story expands across the planet of Arda. What do the Showrunners have front-of-mind when presenting these new characters and cultures through a wider lens?
  11. With many thousands of years of tumultuous events in the 2nd Age, when will the main timeline of the show focus on?
  12. Is John Howe involved (beyond the marketing Map)?
  13. Are the Showrunners fans of Tolkien? We know that they wrote a Star Trek screenplay, but would love to know more about their personal tastes as geeks.
  14. Are the accomplished people in the Writer’s Room pre-existing fans themselves?
  15. Why did Amazon decide to leave New Zealand as a filming location, especially when it has become so synonymous with Middle-earth all this time?
  16. Is Weta Workshop involved with physical props, weapons, costumes, and practical sets (not just Weta Digital)?
  17. Is Industrial Light & Magic involved with their “Mandalorian” digital screen set technology?
  18. Does this show connect with P.J.’s previous six films set in Middle-earth?
  19. Was Tolkien scholar/author Tom Shippey’s departure from the production amicable?
  20. End credits songs!!! We had some gems in the form of end credits songs for the movies. With a TV show, might we expect something similar at the end of each season?
  21. The Lurtz vs. Azog thing: will we get more practical makeup effects or more CGI creatures?
  22. The stories of the 2nd Age are notably bereft of magical creatures like Dragons and Balrogs. Is there a desire to include fantastical beasts and (houses of) dragons per the recent wave of poplar TV?
  23. To what degree is Howard Shore involved, since one of the most desired components of this entire enterprise is the returning embrace of his music?

Let’s hope all this recent marketing activity means the fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works have some more information to fuel their anticipation, sooner rather than later!

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Much too hasty,
Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway