Patrick McKay, the showrunner of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”, has promised that the series will not have the sex and violence of Game of Thrones. Both fantasy genres are preparing to premiere a highly anticipated prequel series. HBO was planning multiple spinoffs set on George R.R. Martin’s legendary kingdom of Westeros before the show’s controversial ending in 2019. House of the Dragon, for example, will air later this year. The series takes place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and tells the story of the Targaryen family’s demise.
“The Lord of the Rings“ prequel series, on the other hand, has been in the works since 2017, when Amazon obtained the television rights and committed $1 billion to make five seasons of the show. This includes a budget of $465 million for the first season alone, which is more than Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy combined cost. “The Rings of Power” is set thousands of years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s books (save The Silmarillion) during the Second Age of Middle-Earth, and is written by McKay and J.D. Payne, the team behind the Star Trek Beyond script. Despite the fact that the cast is somewhat unknown, familiar figures like Galadriel, Elrond, and Sauron will return.
The showrunners of “The Rings of Power” recently spoke to Vanity Fair about what fans can anticipate from the Lord of the Rings series for the publication’s first look at the series. McKay was adamant on one thing: the program will not involve Game of Thrones-style sex and violence, but will instead be aimed at everyone, including “kids as young as 11 years old, 12 years old, and 13 years old.” Here’s what he had to say:
[The goal was] to make a show for everyone, for kids who are 11, 12, and 13, even though sometimes they might have to pull the blanket up over their eyes if it’s a little too scary. We talked about the tone in Tolkien’s books. This is material that is sometimes scary—and sometimes very intense, sometimes quite political, sometimes quite sophisticated—but it’s also heartwarming and life-affirming and optimistic. It’s about friendship and it’s about brotherhood and underdogs overcoming great darkness.
Concerns over the show’s explicit material arose after news broke that Amazon had engaged an intimacy coordinator for its New Zealand set. This caused Lord of the Rings enthusiasts to start a petition demanding that nudity be removed from the show. Now, it appears that the reports about the show having nudity were completely baseless. According to McKay’s statements, the show will be family-friendly and faithful to Tolkien’s original concept. After all, “The Lord of the Rings” was a prequel to The Hobbit, a children’s book.
McKay’s remarks shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that all of Jackson’s adaptations were PG-13 rated, contained little nudity, and kept graphic violence to a minimal. While a few other fantasy programs have been accused of plagiarizing Game of Thrones’ cultural phenomenon with gratuitous nudity and violence, it doesn’t appear that “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” will be one of them. Instead, it will seek to honor Tolkien’s works’ spirit and vision.