November, 1977: In the United States, the National Broadcasting Company (or NBC – you know, with the Peacock) airs the first ever made-for-television Tolkien story, The Hobbit, by Rankin-Bass. I was just barely ten years old! Cost: $3M US.
September, 2022: Throughout the world, Amazon Prime (you know, with the… thing) is programmed to broadcast the first two episodes of the Rings of Power, the first ever made-for-television live action Tolkien story spun from a literary foundation of The Lord of the Rings Appendices, promising a five season series with a total of 50 hours of showtime. Cost: $8B US.
45 years and $7,977,000,000 later, where are we now? Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and I mean, besides me getting old.
SUPER EXCITED! And tantalizingly close, compared to 2017, when the show was announced.
Quenching our Thirst
Now, after a parching, dehydrated, drought of a post-teaser-trailer-season, the marketing associated with RoP has finally begun to quench the thirst of fans throughout the world. As frustrating as it has been for many, it has been equally impressive: Amazon’s work for inhibiting unauthorized release of media, information, even rumor and urban legend regarding RoP has been impressive. Fans have feverishly picked apart the minutia of every image released in 2022, and one thing is clear: we are here for it!
This marketing strategy is very different than what we have experienced – and frankly, appreciated and been accustomed to – in the past. Many worry the approach has been a failure: 60 days from showtime, and no actual video footage has been shared with the public! Yet, I can’t help but imagine a war room of marketing wizards at work, meeting out exactly what is needed, and when, carefully calibrated to strike just the right measure of hype before the show streams in earnest.
Through the words, experiences, and perspectives of the London 30 who were summoned to England several months ago, the marketing wizards casts their spell. A series of images and articles continue to surface on the webs and in print, shared broadly between traditional media outlets, first web-generation Tolkien fan sites like TORn, and the newest of media formats: Reddit, TickTock, Twitter, YouTube… Influencers abound, and Amazon has them tapped. But will it reach enough consumers to tune in on September 2nd? And what is “enough?” We know more is coming at ComicCon, and eagerly await that and the rest.
Author’s note: I’m thrilled to return to news posting here at TORn at the turn of this tide, and looking forward to sharing dispatches from ComicCon this month, and Rings of Power and all manner of Tolkien tidbits with you over the coming years. To stay informed with any breaking news (and plenty of rumors and speculation), and participate in the tantalizing build up to the show in real-time, join me and other TORn staffers Demosthenes, Justin, Kelvarhin and others, and the throng of this generation’s Ringers, in our very own Discord server: https://discord.gg/CTf6sGxR.
See you soon! Tookish bows.
Tookish is one of TORn’s first staff members after the Founding Four, serving as Senior Editor, assistant to Xoanon, lowbrow member of the Greenbooks team, Barliman’s chat moderator, and ComicCon panelist during the Peter Jackson LotR film series era.