Amazon Studios’ “The Lord of the Rings” Second Age series has been notoriously secretive during the 18-month production, but inside info is finally trickling out of the billion dollar series thanks to anonymous Spy Reports coming out of New Zealand. We have been able to verify most of today’s report as currently accurate per sources that are involved with the Production.
Most of these Spy Reports have come to us in short form bullet points, and are shared as such below [with additional context and editorial in brackets from Staff Writer and weekly host Clifford Broadway]. Our spy hotline is still the same after 21 years and our DM’s are open on twitter & instagram! To celebrate the hard-working artists and craftspeople working with such passion way down in New Zealand we shed light on their efforts and help include them in the embrace of fan enthusiasm. As with previous intrepid filmmakers tackling a version of Tolkien; the fandom fully indulges our unbridled curiosity with an open hand while shouting support from afar—a grand tradition of an engaged fandom.
Lore, Legal Rights & the Tolkien Estate
First off, we are hearing that the Tolkien Estate is very happy with how things are progressing. Seems they really are more involved in this Production than with any previous LOTR adaptation ever [including the Bakshi version in 1978 and the six Middle-earth films from Peter Jackson; per the terms of the newest deal] and are thus enjoying the creative process. The overall plan for the show has instilled confidence in the Production and more story rights have been assigned to the show.
- *CONFIRMED* for the 1st time EVER: elements & passages from “The Silmarillion” and “Unfinished Tales” are licensed by Amazon Studios for this adaptation [we broadly speculate those are sections of the book relative to Númenor and Rings of Power including full rights to stories licensed in the Appendices of “The Lord of the Rings,” which already mention Númenor and much more. Actors had posted instagram pics from Silm over the last 18 months.]
- Amazon DOES have merchandising rights
- Three lore experts / Tolkien scholars were on set for a time during production
- Tolkien Estate is said to be very happy with how things are progressing
- Men, Elves and Dwarves have their own sequestered production units for the different Free Peoples [this intriguing bit rather suggests the narrative might be constructed across wide time jumps or told from pockets of different historical viewpoints, perhaps even an anthology approach rotating characters from the various Free Peoples all reacting to the same thing, or just not cooperating with each other in Season 1: but over what timelines we still do not know].
- Scripts are only digitally shared among actors and crew under draconian control mechanisms to track any persons who could access them
- There is a fake production team shooting decoy footage on fake sets unrelated to the real Production – [thus making some “reports of location sightings” false leads by tricksy hobbitses and we must admit this is very clever indeed! Peter Jackson never used decoys!]
- Main unit wrapped shooting in April 2021; while many actors are back in the U.K. or are now on other productions
- J.A. Bayona’s episodes are a standalone entry point to the series [like a feature film]
- There are more incredible directors and big stars yet to be announced
- LOTR & Wheel of Time are sharing crew & directors
- They are aiming for a mid-2022 release [that is only one short year away and must mean the pressure on Post Production must be remarkable]
Men, Elves, Dwarves & “Early Halflings”
Welcome to the Second Age of the Middle-earth Cinematic Universe, full of corruption, wandering, and a lack of alliances.
- Some Halflings are dark skin precursors to Shire-hobbits quite possibly “one of three somewhat different breeds” maybe Harfoots; [described by Tolkien in the Prologue to LOTR ‘Concerning Hobbits’ pg. 12: “they were browner of skin,” and also “they moved westward early,” alluding to a time in their Wandering Days, or perhaps earlier when they kept no records of their journeys over the Misty Mountains westward (which may explain a little of why any early antecedents of pre-Shire migration hobbits would appear here in the Second Age instead of Third Age narrative)]
- Sir Lenny Henry portrays one such early halfling [Harfoot]
- Celebrimbor the ringmaker has been recast
- Tom Budge was in that role
- Certain creatures are referred to as Ice Trolls because they can’t be called Cave Trolls (Warner Bros. licensing restriction)
- Nudity is sparse and not sexualized— contrary to earlier concerns: but rather this artistic choice represents very dark thematic material suggestive of concentration camp-type visuals of victims, a harrowing portrayal of the corruption of the Elves by dark powers to ultimately become Orcs
Editors note: if this plays out fully it will may well be one of the most ambitious things undertaken by this production and perhaps by anyone attempting to adapt Tolkien
- Elves will have short/ shorter hairstyles [cue the Twitter threads, both pro and con, and the voting polls, and endless constellations of lovely fan art, so please bring it fans; I’m here for it]
- Sauron/Annatar will not be revealed in Season One [going with the oldest axiom of show business “Always leave them wanting more.”]
Tune into #TORnTuesday as Quickbeam breaks down all these juicy spy reports in detail. Subscribe on YouTube! We still have a long way to go until Amazon’s LOTR TV show releases, so if you hear anything drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org