How is Middle-earth in “LOTR: Rings of Power” Different From the Movies?

The planned Amazon Prime Video prequel series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” will depict a different Middle-earth than what was seen in Peter Jackson’s earlier films. To completely actualize the world J. R. R. Tolkien built in his high-fantasy novels of the same names proved to be a tremendous job for Jackson in both the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and the follow-up The Hobbit trilogy. The films went on to gross billions of dollars at the box office and win numerous prizes, notably “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, which received the Academy Award for Best Picture.

“The Lord of the Rings” books and films were set in a fictional realm known as Middle-earth, a medieval-inspired fantasy world filled with mythical animals and races including Dwarves, Elves, and Hobbits. Jackson’s films were shot on location in New Zealand, on sets created in the country’s national parks and forests. The Shire’s Hobbit hamlet still exists today, and it is a popular tourist destination for enthusiasts from all over the world.

Now, Empire speaks with John Howe, the concept artist for “The Rings of Power”, about the universe of the upcoming The Lord of the Rings prequel series. The new television show will represent a version of Middle-earth that has yet to be seen on screen, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and “The Lord of the Rings”. The series will tell stories from Middle-Second earth’s Age, before the conflicts that ravaged the realm, as depicted in Peter Jackson’s Third Age film trilogy. The show will focus on the birth of the Dark Lord Sauron, the creation of the Power Rings, and the destruction of Nmenor, a wealthy country. In “The Rings of Power”, Howe says the following regarding the various versions of Middle-earth:

This isn’t the Middle-earth you remember. This is a world that’s very vibrant. The elves are not hidden away in Mirkwood or lingering in Rivendell. They’re busy constructing kingdoms. The dwarven kingdom of Moria is not an abandoned mine and the Grey Havens is not yet an abandoned city. I loved having the opportunity to explore that unseen history.

We’re finally sailing on the oceans of Middle-earth. [The Elves] are daunting and enterprising and are almost colonizing the world. They were a lot of fun to imagine. It’s something neither Lord Of The Rings nor Hobbit movies went anywhere near.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” included the mines of Moria in a dramatic scenario in which the Fellowship trekked through the subterranean ruins of a once magnificent Dwarven metropolis. The television series promises a peek at the city before it was destroyed and overrun by orcs and other animals. Audiences will also glimpse the lives of Elves previous to their sheltered existence concealed in the gloomy forest of Mirkwood, according to Howe. The elves will sail the world’s waters, presenting a more expansive and lively Middle-earth.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is shaping up to be a Middle-earth adventure on par with Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed film trilogy. Those films established a high bar for faithfully translating Tolkien’s world-renowned writings. “The Rings of Power” is expected to release on Amazon Prime Video on September 2 after being delayed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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