‘The Rings of Power’ Producers Aren’t Concerned About That Other Fantasy Drama On HBO — TCA

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The showrunners of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power promise their fantasy drama for Prime Video will feature all new stories and is not “a reboot or a retread” of what J.R.R. Tolkien fans saw in the movies.

“This is a new story for most who are going to be watching it. We weren’t interested in a nostalgia play,” showrunner Patrick McKay said Friday at the TCA summer press tour. “We felt that this show had to earn its place on the start, rise or fall on its own merits. There are different stories that you’ve seen before.”

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“This is before Frodo, before the rings, the time during which the rings of power were forged,” showrunner J.D. Payne added.

Premiering September 2, the series is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth — thousands of years before the events of the Lord of the Rings films and novels. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the action follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.

“We hope the human drama of it will be as engaging and accessible to anyone, as well as the super fans,” said McKay, who also brushed aside worries that The Rings of Power is coming out at the same time of another much-anticipated fantasy drama — House of the Dragon on HBO. The Game of Thrones prequel series from George R.R. Martin, Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik will premiere August 21.

The new dramas also target different audiences. The Rings of Power has been billed as more family friendly. (Payne said that if “you are old enough to read the books, you are old enough to watch.”) Dragon is more adult; there is nudity and gore in the first episode.

“We don’t think of the show in terms what genre it’s in and other shows that may be out there,” he said. “We really think about [Tolkien’s] life’s work, creating this middle world, the regions beyond Middle-earth … it drowns out what may be happening in another realm somewhere else.”

Headlining the ensemble cast are Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman and Sara Zwangobani.

Payne and McKay are joined by executive producers Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J.A. Bayona, Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond and Sharon Tal Yguado. Producers are Ron Ames and Christopher Newman. Wayne Che Yip is co-executive producer and directs along with Bayona and Charlotte Brändström.

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