LOTR TV Show: "This Isn't The Middle-earth You Remember," Artist Says

John Howe talks about how The Rings of Power will have a "very vibrant" world and introduce viewers to Middle-earth's oceans.


Amazon's long-awaited Lord of the Rings TV series, The Rings of Power, premieres in September. While it is connected to the wider fantasy world of Middle-earth, it will stand apart from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, according to concept artist John Howe.

Howe, who also worked on Jackson's Middle-earth films, told Empire, "This isn't the Middle-earth you remember."

The Rings of Power takes place in the Second Age, which is thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It will tell a story involving the forging of the rings and Sauron's rise, among other things, and its world will look and feel very alive, Howe teased.

"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," Howe said. "I loved having the opportunity to explore that unseen history."

What's more, Howe mentioned that The Rings of Power will introduce viewers to the oceans of Middle-earth, which were not explored all that much in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.

"We're finally sailing on the oceans of Middle-earth," Howe said. "They're 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 Rings of Power premieres September 2 on Prime Video. Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, said the trailer for The Rings of Power gave him "chills."

Season 2 is already in the works, and in a big shift, production is leaving New Zealand and will instead take place in the UK. In other Lord of the Rings news, some of the other Hobbit actors revealed that the iconic "Second Breakfast" scene from Fellowship of the Ring was extremely rushed due to a snow squall.

As for the video game series, The Lord of the Rings Online recently saw a huge surge in players thanks in part to the game's 15th anniversary event. Additionally, Electronic Arts just announced it has signed a new deal with Middle-earth Enterprises to create a game called The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth.

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