Amazon Prime Video has unveiled what time period their veiled-in-secrecy, in development series based on the fantasy writings of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth novels will be set in. The reveal comes at the end of a series of tweets that Amazon Prime Video had been sending out featuring a map of Middle Earth, at first devoid of place names, but adding them slowly over time.
Welcome to the Second Age: https://t.co/Tamd0oRgTw
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) March 7, 2019
The news does put a sword through the heart of rumors that suggested the series was going to focus on the early life of Aragon, the noble ranger with a hidden past who helps Frodo Baggins on his journey to destroy the evil One Ring in Lord Of The Rings. Viggo Mortensen played the character in Peter Jackson’s films.
But beyond knowing what era of Middle Earth history the show will be set in, Amazon has released no other information about the series. We still don’t even have a proper name for the show.
Tolkien’s primary works set in Middle Earth – The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings – both unfold in that realm’s Third Age, with the events of Lord Of The Rings heralding that age’s closing years. For the most part, Tolkien did not get into too much detail about the 3400 years that cover Middle Earth’s Second Age, but did sketch out things in a few broad strokes. It was a time of the rise and eventual fall of the kingdom of Numenor. It was also the rise to power of the evil Sauron, who forges his evil One Ring to rule them all during this period. The Second Age came to a close when an alliance of men and elves laid siege to Sauron’s kingdom of Mordor, eventually defeating, but not destroying, the Dark Lord while his Ring slipped away to be lost for centuries. Much of these events would be the backdrop for The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.
Tolkien did write a bit more about this time in writings that were eventually published as part of the volume Unfinished Tales of Numenor And Middle-Earth, edited by his son Christopher Tolkien, but he never crafted these notes and essays into a more traditional narrative. This does leave a framework in place for showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay to tell some broad, epic stories. Of course, whether they can capture the tone and themes of Tolkien still remain to be seen.
No premier date has been set, but Amazon as a multi-season commitment for the show, with an option for a spinoff as well.