Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin, has joined the list of characters now confirmed as denizens of the Second Age of Middle-earth in Prime Video’s upcoming Rings of Power series. Living with his mother, Bronwyn, in the village of Tirharad, we still know little about Theo’s story or character. We do know, though, that whatever is to come will be entwined with one of the more menacing weapons that Amazon has also revealed: a broken sword and possible family heirloom.
We have seen this sword before, revealed in a series of hands-centric posters that Prime Video released in February. We are still left to speculate about the origin and nature of this broken heirloom – possibly marked by Black Speech – and how Theo and his mother come to possess it. Could this have been crafted by Sauron/Annatar during his seductive stay on Númenor? A remnant of a past migration of Black Númenoreans as they colonized Haradwaith to the south of Gondor? A family heirloom from an absent father, now consumed by a piece of jewelry more powerful than he bargained for?
With Theo’s arrival, we are beginning to see some facets of a fuller family in this branch of the storyline that the Rings of Power writers have been crafting. Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi, is a single mother and village healer, living in apparently rustic conditions with her son well to the south of more familiar Lord of the Rings landscapes. But we know there must be more, even without that broken sword. Bronwyn has a romantic connection with the Sylvan Elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. (How does Theo feel about that?) And now we also know that Nazanin Boniadi can strike a classic “New Zealand is Middle-earth” pose with the best of our Second Age heroines.
And again, we’re left with more questions than answers. Where is Bronwyn headed? Does her regal robe reveal that “village healer” is only a part of her story? Can we get some GPS coordinates for this shooting location? How many cosplay homages will this photo inspire?
Tyroe Muhafidin is a 16-year old Australian actor who has appeared in an array of short films and television series, including Dusk (2018) and Caravan (2019). This will be his first appearance in a major role.
Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerbrings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. The series will launch on September 2, 2022.
Amazon’s latest book sales chart reveal that J.R.R. Tolkien books now occupy five of the top 20 spots.
The charts for the week of March 27 show the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings in spots #3, #5, and #7, while sales of The Hobbit meant it slotted in at #4. The real surprise, though, is that Tolkien’s posthumously published novel The Silmarillion sold well enough to enter the charts at #12.
Apparently this is the first time that The Silmarillion has reached the top strata of the Amazon sales charts. The result might indicate that Amazon Studios’ Rings of Power series is creating a wider interest in Tolkien’s First Age myths.
For Immediate Release: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ Rights Offered to Pioneering Fan Site, TheOneRing.net
BERKELEY, CA, USA — Pioneering fan site, TheOneRing.net, has been awarded the opportunity to officially bid to become part of Middle-earth. As announced in early 2022, The Saul Zaentz Company reported its intent to sell its Tolkien holdings, which include movie, merchandising, gaming and live event rights to “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”. The company hired investment bankers to manage the sale, and as part of the process, The One Ring, Inc, operating as TheOneRing.net, has been offered an exclusive 4-month window to become part of the buyers group. The extension was granted to allow the volunteer members of TheOneRing.net time to launch a ground-breaking and ambitious effort to give fans control of these historic properties.
“We realize the effort will be monumental, and the stakes are high, but if Frodo can take the Ring to Mount Doom, we sure as heck can get fans a chance to be stakeholders and advocates of Tolkien’s work.”
Michael Regina, Executive Editor and Co-Founder
TheOneRing.net will be launching this fundraising effort in the coming weeks via their website, social media platforms, and their newly minted Discord channel. (discord.gg/theonering).
Multiple levels of participation will be offered, from US$5 to the max tier of $250,000,000. Perks will include original manuscripts of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ as well as celebrity experiences with the plethora of individuals who have entered the Tolkien sphere over the past 80 years.
Kirsten Cairns, Senior Editor and Director of Partnerships for TheOneRing.net, who spearheaded TheOneRing.net’s previous successful crowdfund campaign, says:
“’The Lord of the Rings’ alone has sold nearly 150 million copies. If we can persuade those passionate fans each to donate at least $10 to this effort, we’ll be halfway there.”
The rights are expected to sell for an astounding $2 Billion with main competition coming from Universal (NYSE:UVV) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)
About TheOneRing.net Founded in 1999 by a group of like-minded Tolkien fans so anxious for the coming Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films that they were gathering up every scrap of production information to be found, TheOneRing.net continues today in bringing fans the latest news on the beloved figures involved in the making of the wildly popular Lord of the Rings movies, as well as the newest information available on upcoming productions, Tolkien-centered events, new publications, and fan gatherings.
About the Saul Zaentz Company Based in Berkeley, Calif., Zaentz Co. is home to Middle-earth Enterprises, which handles its Tolkien-related licensing. Zaentz first made his name as the longtime leader of Fantasy Records, an influential jazz and rock label in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. He also produced such movies as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Amadeus” (1984) and “The English Patient” (1996), all three of which earned Oscars for best picture.
In a spy report for the ages, we’re excited to reveal Amazon is already planning an animated spin off from their Rings of Power series.
Anticipating the success of the show, premiering September 2nd on Prime Video, the creative team at Amazon are working on a children’s cartoon series. Here’s what our inside source told us:
The inspiration for the show came from the opening of The Hobbit, when Bilbo first encounters Gandalf. He remarks that the wizard ‘was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to visiting Elves or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores!’ We thought it would be great to hear the stories of the other Hobbits, who had been on adventures with Gandalf in the past.
With this new series, we’re hoping to make ‘Saturday Morning Cartoons’ exciting, educational and fun again, with wholesome entertainment that is both silly, yet meaningful for the whole family. We’re delighted that Sir Lenny Henry, an actor with a well-known pedigree in comedy and family entertainment, has agreed to voice one of the main characters of the show. With such a distinguished performer already on board, we’re hoping to persuade Sir Ian McKellen to voice Gandalf for us. You really can’t have Gandalf without Sir Ian.
There hasn’t been a final title decision yet. ‘Adventure Hobbits’ was our first thought, but because The Rings of Power is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, we’re featuring Harfoots in that series. So then we wanted to go with ‘Adventure Harfoots’; but of course the Istari didn’t arrive in Middle-earth until early in the Third Age – so can we blur the lines and have Gandalf and Harfoots together? Then of course there is the additional dilemma about whether it should be ‘Adventure Harfoots’ or ‘Adventure Harfeet’… It’s still a work in progress.
Here at TORn we’re speculating that Amazon may also have wanted to create something to go up against Warner Bros.’ animated Middle-earth tale, The War of the Rohirrim, which is slated for release in April 2024. Now Amazon will have their own animated adventure from Arda. There hasn’t been a cartoon Hobbit since the days of the Rankin/Bass movies; we can’t wait to see the first images from this upcoming show.
Staff from TheOneRing.net will be at Wondercon this weekend in Anaheim and this project is one of many we will be discussing in our Middle-earth! Coming to your TV this Fall presentation. Look for us tonight in room North 200A at 4:30 pm, tickets are still available online and at the door.
The original music heard in the record-breaking The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power teaser trailer was composed by Felix Erskine.
Music continues to be top of mind for fans as Amazon Prime Video’s show kicks into gear. Thanks to a new Spy Report from Jim J Ware we can confirm that Cavalry Music is responsible for the epic score in the teaser.
Erskine is a London-born composer and the founder of Cavalry Music. A music prodigy, he studied Classical Guitar and Composition at the prestigious Royal College of Music at the age of 11 and spent his early music career working alongside composers like Brian Eno and Michael Kamen.
Erskine also arranged music for the recent KENOBI trailer from Disney+, which included an epic Duel of the Fates drop that some consider John Williams best-ever work. This guy knows how to blend celebrated old themes with the new, so why wasn’t he allowed to do the same with any of Shore’s iconic LOTR themes?
The question remains: Where is Howard Shore & Bear McCreary in all this? There have been rumors and suggestive posts everywhere from Deadline to Instagram comments (suspiciously deleted).
Watch Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power superbowl teaser again:
[Note: The conversation has been edited down from the original due to space.]
Justin: Are the articles speculation on your part, or are you hinting at stuff you’ve actually seen? Joanna: In the cover story … and the article that I put up, the “questions answered” one … hardly any is speculation, um, if I’m saying something I’m saying something … when I put down here’s what I asked … then I printed word-for-word the answer I got.
Justin: Was there any discussion with the showrunners of, you know, a certain level of faithfulness? Joanna: … they’re not deviating from that core lore …
Justin: Is the sword that we see Narsil? Joanna: I’m gonna go and be safe and say pretty sure.
Justin: Can you provide any reaction to Lenny Henry as a Harfoot? Joanna: That is something that I would love to see.
Justin: Was the first teaser photo from last summer of the two trees in Tirion, was that intentional misdirection? Joanna: No
Justin: There’s so much comment about hair … let me start with Galadriel’s hair … Joanna: … fandoms are not a monolith, and what one person wants in the fandom is not what another person wants with the fandom … I tend to be very CG resistant in general … when we got to the Harfoots in the episodes I saw … that felt so Willow to me, and that is the highest compliment I can give anything … Do people really want a glow filter on Galadriel all the time? … The hair that you see in the photos and footage that you’ve seen is accurate to what I’ve seen … [but] I have not seen all the finished digital effects …
Joanna: I think the casting of Morfydd Clark is incredible because she’s not super well-known, though if you haven’t seen Saint Maude I really recommend you go see it because she is astonishing in that, and if you want to like get a preview of how, uh, you know a Galadriel that might go toe-to-toe with Cate Blanchett going like photo negative in The Fellowship of the Ring, like, that’s the performance that she gives in that film … she’s such a perfect casting for this because people … aren’t coming in with preconceived notions of her … so she can just become Galadriel.
Justin: What are those people with the antlers? Joanna: Here is what I can say about that, don’t worry too much about it. Justin: Are they an integral part of the story? Joanna: Don’t worry too much about it. They’re a very cool visual. It’s a very cool, practical effect visual.
Joanna: Does hair play an important part in the narrative? Joanna: Like Elf hair? As far as I know, no … I didn’t ask this question specifically … but as far as the story that I’ve seen so far, it does not seem to be related to the plot … I’m guessing … it’s an aesthetic decision.
Cliff: [There’s] all this Galadriel focus … but where’s Celeborn? Joanna: I haven’t seen him. Cliff: They’re saving him for a later season perhaps? Joanna: That would be my guess.
Justin: Is there a vibe of a CW show? Joanna: No. No. No. … that’s the concern that surprised me the most … attached to Bronwyn and Arondir, that people were like, oh, are they giving a CW … this idea of sort of star-crossed lovers is a recurring theme in Tolkien’s work … the rarity of those pairings … is what makes them so special … I can understand why, you know, a slightly forbidden romance would be part of it because that’s a theme that Tolkien was interested in. But it doesn’t smack of CW to me at all.
TORN: Is it possible this only gets one season? Joanna: Zero percent … they payed so much money for this, are you kidding me?
Joanna: There was the Covid, and the question was did they reconfigure the whole show when they shot the back end of the first season, what did they do during that Covid time? … did their understanding of what they want to do with the show fundamentally change? I can only give you the answer that JD and Patrick gave me … They said nothing fundamentally changed, in they plotted out their first season, and nothing … changed in the Covid pause … They took time during the Covid pause to map out Season Two … there wasn’t any massive structural changes. The other misapprehension that I’ve seen floating around is this idea that the first two episodes are sort of one thing, and then the rest of the season is something else. That’s not the case at all. It’s one flowing story. TORN: It’s not a two hour prologue? Joanna: It’s not … Cliff: Even in the new article it says there aren’t many time jumps aside from the first two episodes. Joanna: Am I saying there is no, uh, First Age stuff in this at all? No, Amazon has already told you that there is. But it’s not a massive prologue. No.
Justin: Jeff Bezos said early on ‘bring me the next Game of Thrones‘, and then they got Bryan Cogman the lore expert on Game of Thrones … Joanna: Bryan also happens to be a really good friend of mine … I’m a huge fan of his … I can see his fingerprints on it [The Rings of Power], but he was very clear he was only there in a consulting position right at the beginning. Cliff: … it led to worry … about the probability of nudity or sexualized elements to the story… Joanna: I don’t think Cogman or anyone in that writers’ room, and there’s so many smart, talented writers in that writers’ room, I don’t think any of them wanted to do like orgies in Middle-earth, ever, or anything like that.
Justin: A lot of people say it doesn’t look like there was a plan…did you get a sense that there is a five season plan? Joanna: I can’t say that for certain, but when they offered up their roadmap … 4-5 big stories they’re interested in telling, involving like Númenor and Sauron and the forging of the rings, and … I think the end after that, right, the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. I think they have the major beats of the whole story laid out.
Cliff: The novelty [of seeing the seven clans of dwarves and their lords] is the most powerful draw for me personally. Joanna: They [the showrunners] are interested in showing us a wide array of cultures of Middle-earth in a wide array of locations … I gasped when I saw Khazad-Dûm, like when I saw the first shot … sort of descending into Khazad-Dûm … I was dazzled by it, and they built that, I know they built that, […] they told me they did.
Joanna: I found a question I feel really comfortable answering … did I have a favorite performance so far? I think Markella Kavenagh who plays Nori Brandyfoot the Harfoot, she’s my standout by far. I just loved everything that she did … and I think stories about Elves and Men and Dwarves are … fun and interesting, but for me, it doesn’t really feel like it’s Tolkien without a Hobbit or Harfoot there, and I feel like once she showed up I was like I’m locked in, I get it. Cliff: But we have to acknowledge it is a bit of a lore squeeze. Joanna: Yup Justin: That’s the fear that a lot of fans have, that there’s so much good stuff in the Second Age, they don’t want this show to be told from the Harfoots’ perspective. Joanna: I don’t think its accurate to say it’s told from the Harfoots’ perspective – the Harfoots that we see are nomadic, and they have a rule they don’t engage with the bigger folk … You’re not going to see a Harfoot forging the rings or fighting a Balrog or anything like that as far as I know … they are not bending the text that far. Justin: Is the show being told from a certain perspective? Joanna: Amazon is very careful over and over again to call this an ensemble cast, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate … Amazon wants everyone to be in on the show, they want the deep dive lore loving […] people excited, and there’s so many little details in there that I think are gonna make people who are engaging on that level excited, but they want those people [fans of the Jackson films] excited, too … I wouldn’t say this is Galadriel’s show, or this is the Harfoots’ show, or Elrond’s show, or this is the Númenor show.
Justin: Can you help fans reconcile the idea that they’re creating new characters? Joanna: If you were just reading the Appendices of what happened in the the LotR trilogy … a character like Rosie Cotton … a character like that is not a big part of the history that you boiled down for the Appendices … but if you’re putting together the whole world, um, you want your Rosie Cotton since she’s important to matters … The Nazgûl, the nine kings, we know so little about them, right? So doesn’t the Amazon show have a really rich opportunity to introduce us to all of those men, and so that when they fall, it is a tragic story? … so when we lose them we will feel the loss of them. That’s pure speculation, but that’s I think a justifiable reason to add nine characters we may or may not have names for … The way they want to present Isildur … let’s spend time with Isildur … so that when it all shakes out the way it does, we really feel that. I find that kind of story-telling really interesting.
Justin: I hear the loin cloth we see on meteor man was a CG. Joanna: Honestly classic … If you’ve got a young actress and an adult man … [the intimacy coordinator might have been for Nori so she would feel comfortable.]
Joanna: Is your question, do I know who Sauron is after three episodes? Justin: Yeah, let’s go there. [Joanna pulls a red card that indicates she can’t answer in front of her face.] Justin: Well there you go.
Justin: Any hints that WETA workshop is involved? [Joanna pulls the red card in front of her face.]
Joanna: I’ll be really curious to see if we’ll be able to tell a demonstrable difference between the seasons shot in England and those shot in New Zealand … JD and Patrick said ‘Our characters are on the move, so you’ll understand it will make sense that maybe we won’t have access to the same vistas’ – I’m paraphrasing.
Justin: There’s a fear that if they share crews because they’re in the UK, it will look like other shows. Joanna: They are building a home studio in the UK … it will make production easier … In terms of will this show look like the Witcher or Wheel of Time … These are portraits [the posters and photos in Vanity Fair], they’re not the moving images that you’re going to see … When I saw the Wheel of Time screeners that we got which were finished … I spent a long time thinking about why that film, that show, didn’t look as good as I thought it should … there was something slightly off, I thought … it looked ‘costume-e-y’ … I did not feel that way watching [Amazon’s] The Lord of the Rings footage.
Justin: Are there any photos that almost made the cut? Joanna: There were many, many, many, many, many … conversations about … which photos were going to be in this piece and which weren’t … we had a beautiful portrait of Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad … I love all the photos … I would have put like all the photos we got [in the article] … I want to give you every single name of every single actor playing every single character … Amazon is like, hey, it’s February, we want to keep doling these cookies out … and let other outlets have some fun in sharing.
Justin: Cliff, what is your one ask? What do you wish you would have seen? Cliff: I want to see Celebrimbor with a hammer and tongs working over some molten ring-making chaos. I want to see the Elven smiths behind him watching, learning while he’s doing this ring-craft, and then, into the frame, reaches one long, slender hand with the golden robe and guiding Celebrimbor’s hand to a different position with the tongs … I want to see Annatar teaching Celebrimbor this most specific thing.
Justin: Can you give us one no context spoiler? Joanna: Oh that’s really fun! Hmmm … I’m sorry; if I come up with something, I’ll tweet it to you…
Cliff: We’re on the threshold … I’m going to quote Dune … “A beginning is a very delicate time…”