I have been skeptical of The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power since I first heard that Amazon had purchased the rights to some of Tolkien’s appendices of The Silmarillion.
The first images and brief teaser trailers also failed to inspire my confidence. Amazon’s promotional efforts did more harm than good, and the whole project came across as an expensive and admittedly pretty exercise in misunderstanding Tolkien’s world.
Would this be yet another adaptation focused on token diversity and powerful female characters that simply act like strong men? Or would there be substance and depth here? Just as importantly, would a prequel tale—even one set thousands of years in the past—be high-stakes enough given that we know what happens at the end of The Lord Of The Rings?
Prequels are hard to pull off, even in an established universe like Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Not all these fears have been put to bed by the latest trailer, debuted this morning at San Diego Comic-Con, but I have new hope in the production. This is a damn good trailer that doesn’t just show off the expensive sets and special effects, but gives us a real glimpse at the kind of story The Rings Of Power is trying to tell. Check it out:
We see lots of the show’s characters in here, but most intriguing is Sauron himself, before he dons the big scary armor and is represented as a burning eye-in-the-sky. Here, we see him as a young man in a white cloak. “There have been many lies told about Middle-earth,” he says ominously at the end of the trailer.
Alongside orcs, we also get a glimpse at another familiar monstrosity: A Balrog, almost certainly one that will play antagonist to the dwarves of Khazad-dûm, led by Durin IV (Owain Arthur).
The other big news out of today’s Comic-Con panel: James Horner and Bear McCreary, two of the most successful and talented composers working in entertainment, will be teaming up on the show’s musical score. If nothing else, we can surely look forward to that.
The Comic-Con panel, hosted by Tolkien fanatic Stephen Colbert, also showed off several clips from the first season. The first showed a rock-chopping competition between Durin IV and elven lord Elrond (Robert Aramayo). You recall Durin in the trailer proclaiming, “There can be no trust between hammer and rock. In the end one must break.”
In the second clip, two Harfoots (aka Hobbits) find a sleeping giant surrounded by flame. Nori (Markella Kavenagh) and Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards) wake the giant upon which the flames disappear, only to reappear when he falls asleep. A useful nap security system.
In the third clip shows the elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) in an orc slave pit, chained, attempt to make his escape.
Another clip showed off Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) speaking in elvish with Elrond with a bit of a romantic vibe. Another scene with Galadriel shows her sailing into Númenor in all its glory.
Amazon spared no expense on the panel which featured a full orchestra and numerous members of the show’s cast as well as its creators. “It’s a story of hope and approaching darkness,” Colbert said as he introduced the panel, “this being Tolkien, it’s a story of loss.”