What do we hope for, from tonight’s Teaser Trailer?

Middle-earth and Numenor

Trailers do the heavy lifting in helping get butts in seats in theaters or on the couch watching your big-screen television. A good trailer will indicate what the story is, introduce the main players and toss in some action or comedic dialogue, all depending on the genre. Movie trailers and television trailers are very different simply because a film has one big story arc, while a television show will have many, and the idea is usually to tease your first episode or two and maybe some vague hints for later episodes. 

So, what do we all want to see from this trailer running during the Super Bowl today, early in the 3rd quarter? Well, the main consensus is MORE, of everything. More characters than those already introduced in photos, more costumes, more weapons, but especially, more Kingdoms. 

Below are the wish lists from a few of our staff members, starting with this writer’s own list.

Garfeimao’s comments:

1. I want to see Arondir, the Silvan Elf, being more Elf-like and to see if he’s mostly alone or part of a community of Elves in the forest. And I especially want to see if that chest plate with the face and leaves is actually made of wood or something else. 

Silvan Elf Arondir

2. Dwarves, give us miners, builders, fighters. I just want to see something that indicates the scope of their realm and culture. 

3. Why is Galadriel adrift at sea, was she on a ship that sank, or do we start with her in Numenor at the time it of its sinking, and then everything else is a flashback? 

4. More Lindon please, and more of the Elves there.

5. How do the Two Trees factor into anything? Will there be any action there, or is it just a short flashback of sorts? 

Our first glimpse of The Rings of Power, but not in the 2nd Age

Elessar’s comments:

I just want to see things in motion. This will help let us know if what we saw in the photos (quality of things) translates when it moves. 

Seeing folks talk and interact will help let us know if they can carry the weight of things or if they just look good in photos. 

These things will be important to me as I’ve already folded my cards on one of my big must haves for this show.

I’m going to classify these next two as “the Season/Series aspirations we hope that the Teaser Trailer will hint at”.

Madeye Gamgee’s comments: 

Recognizing that this is a “teaser” trailer, and that I’ll likely be left wanting a LOT more under any circumstance, my main interests fall under two main headings. It will be great for the teaser to:

  1. Dispel concerns. My summarizing “angst” may be hard to pin down, but I’d express it as “Tolkien faithfulness.” I’m not looking for elusive adherence to “canon” (there’s precious little, given the paucity of real substantive narrative to draw from — all we’ve really got are timelines and very limited narrative sketches versus the fully developed narratives of The Hobbit and LotR). I also fully appreciate that the visual medium is vastly different from the written form, and must have adaptive room to breathe, both visually and in its development of plot. Dwarves that must be presented with memorable and distinctive personalities and appearances (versus merely polychromatic capes) is an illustration. Visual forms inflexibly enslaved to written source material more often than not simply results in bad storytelling  (see the early Potter movies, for example). So what does faithfulness to Tolkien mean? Respect for characters. Resistance toward commercial tropes that became so evident with studio intervention in The Hobbit (like love triangles). No violence and sexuality that is gratuitous. Not failing to integrate the themes that Tolkien really cared about: fellowship, hope, faithfulness, unity and resilience in the face of evil, transcendent sacrificial love, characters infused with honor and history and realism in their struggles. I could go on. I want to see this teaser trailer and, just like when we saw Gandalf riding up to Bag End in Fellowship, feel deeply that, “yes, they’re getting Tolkien right” versus merely, “ok, they’re playing in Tolkien’s sandbox.”

Durin IV

2. Create a hunger to see and hear more. Of course I’ve got lots of specific things I’d like to know about. What’s the target time span within the 2nd age? What’s getting compressed as far as the timeline? Will we see Sauron, and in what guises? Who are the recipients of the rings, and how do those rings affect them? Will we see the some specific characters that we don’t yet know about, like Elros, Erendis, Aldarion, Celeborn, Anárion, etc.?  More generally, who will be the protagonists and antagonists? What’s the overarching story arc and how will it be handled (particularly since it’s not likely to be the Quest architecture as with LotR and The Hobbit)? How deftly will new characters be woven in with established, iconic ones? Will we see “payoff” moments this season, like the forging and distribution of the rings, or Elros and the Númenóreans arriving on Elenna-nórë/Andor, or Galadriel and Celeborn planting Mallorn trees in Lórien, or the discovery of mithril and rumblings of the Balrog in Moria, etc., etc.? As a Tolkienite, will these stories both draw from those elements that we know, and build these worlds and characters in ways that we care about (including with screenwriting language worthy of Tolkien, as we almost always received with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens)? Or will the writers be more interested in advancing their own independent narratives, divested from the deep history that Tolkien left us? I’m fine with new stories. But just as we see with Tolkien in LotR, I am eager to see and experience these ancient echos of Middle-earth even in the newest of narratives. Like Tolkien’s extension of the “Man in the Moon” song at Bree, that’s what I long to see and experience: great writing that gives me fresh perspectives and insight and delight in ways that enhance rather than compete, dilute, or distract from Tolkien’s rich world.  

Bronwyn8217s Apothecary

Mithril’s comments: 

What do I want to see in the trailer? Everything that Madeye Gamgee said, and….

Númenor and when in the timeline it is. I hope in the series we get to see it both before and after the fall. Could we see Elves from Tol Eressëa? Isildur stealing the fruit from the White Tree, Nimloth. Isildur, Elendil, and Anárion together, having a conversation. The 7 Palantíri working as a system of long-distance communication. Though I doubt we’ll see them in the trailer: Annúminas, the building of Minas Anor and Minas Ithil –I’ve long wanted to see Osgiliath’s Dome of Stars

Gil-galad, the last King of the Ñoldor! Khazad-dûm in its glory when the West-gate is open and Hollin is flourishing with lots of Elves and Dwarves working together. Durin IV and Disa! I’m sure we’ll see Galadriel and Elrond, just curious in what contexts. I want to hear some of the political intrigue Elrond is crafting. And speaking of crafting, Celebrimbor! The greatest craftsman since Fëanor. I want to see him creating something, even if it’s not one of the rings, and possibly some other of the jewel-smiths, the Gwaith-i-Mírdain. So curious to see the fair form that Annatar takes, though I doubt we will, or if we do, we won’t know it’s him.

The “secretive” Hobbits, what their community looks like, do they live in Hobbit holes? Harad and the Southland. Inside Bronwyn’s apothecary–I always like looking at those types of details, jars and bowls filled with native flowers and herbs, potions. A snippet of conversation between her and Arondir. A closer peek at Halbrand who looks like he could be an ancestor of Faramir. Will we find out what he’s running from and how it ties in with the story?

I also want to see more costumes, sets, weaponry…do we get to see the Númenoreans steel bows? And I’m curious about how the actors will sound–will there be different accents? Dialects? Will there be Elvish/Dwarvish/Adûnaic spoken with subtitles in some places? And I’m more than a bit intrigued to see some of the magic the Vanity Fair article mentions. What form will it take? Who will wield it? Could there be Wizards?! Not a lot to ask….

Join us and a hosts of guests at the #LOTRTrailer Official Watch Party, from 5.15pm PT today, Feb 13th. Share your reactions to the trailer at #LOTRFans. So it begins!