“The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy became one of the most popular movie trilogies ever and one with the most accolades. All the world knows the story of this epic drama from Middle-earth. The trilogy won a staggering seventeen Oscars and had thirteen other nominations. Now, an Amazon Prime Video series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s work is coming out on a huge budget, so we wonder, can “LOTR: The Rings Of Power” succeed like the trilogy?

It’s doubtful that “LOTR: The Rings of Power” will have similar success as the trilogy. The cast members are not as well-known, and the characters are different, so nostalgic fans might miss the old crew. Still, it has a colossal budget and great source material, so it might surprise us all.

There are segments of “The Rings of Power” that could tip the scales and make a huge boom, making “The Lord of Rings” television series a big success. The technology is highly advanced, so CGI will be much better, and Tolkien’s work is phenomenal. Also, it’ll be accessible online and in the format of a TV show. Therefore, if it’s written and directed properly, it has all the ingredients to be a hit. Let’s break it down a bit.

The Rings of Power Budget

Robert Aramayo (Elrond), Morfydd Clark (Galadriel)

Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power

Rumor has it that, a few years ago, Jeff Bezos said to his Amazon Studios producers that he wanted “his own Game of Thrones.” It’s not enough for him that he conquered the global e-commerce market by a landslide – now he wants to conquer TV and streaming platforms and go up to par with Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+.

The first attempt to create his “Game of Thrones” was adapting Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time into a TV show. However, it failed to deliver such magnificent results.

However, Bezos didn’t give up. In fact, he went all in to produce the most expensive season of a TV show in history – the first season of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

First, Amazon had to buy the rights for Tolkien’s books, which they did – for $250 million. And then the show’s first season is believed to cost a mind-blowing $58 million per episode, or $464 million for the entire 8-episode season. 

Considering that the show is expected to go for at least five seasons, should Amazon keep similar budget standards for each season, that means the show will comfortably surpass the $1 billion mark.

In fact, it could land somewhere between $2-3 billion for the entire show – by far the most money ever spent on a TV show. Having that in mind, visual effects should be stunning.

How Does The Rings of Power Budget Compare to the Rings Trilogy?

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power

In contrast, every LOTR movie from the trilogy is estimated to have had a budget under $100 million. That means that the entire trilogy’s budget was around $280 million. That’s almost half of what season one of “LOTR: The Rings of Power” will cost alone!

Considering the huge budget differential and the success the trilogy has had – seventeen Oscars, thirteen more nominations, and around $3 billion in worldwide box office numbers – the fans have a full right to expect unfathomable things out of the series.

Will it come to fruition, though? Well, if the “Wheel of Time” series taught us anything, it’s that money isn’t everything.

The Rings of Power: Cast, Crew, Executive Producer

People behind The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Another thing that could prove to be a make-or-break for “LOTR: The Rings of Power” is the creative team, ensemble cast, crew, and the executive producer (plus co-executive producer) of the new Rings series.

“The Lord of the Rings” films, as well as “The Hobbit” trilogy, had an insanely awesome cast and crew. It’ll be very hard to replicate – or even come close to – Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, which was different but phenomenal nevertheless.

Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Also, the original trilogy already had some household names within the cast: Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Liv Tyler as Arwen, and the list goes on. 

Admittedly, most of them became much bigger stars after their LOTR roles, but many were already stars to begin with. However, that can’t really be said for the cast of “LOTR: The Rings of Power.”

People Behind The Rings of Power

Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredibly talented, famous actors and actresses here, like cast members Peter Mullan, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Charles Edwards, Dylan Smith, Owain Arthur, Charlie Vickers, Morfydd Clark, Megan Richards, Australian actor Tom Badge and Ismael Cruz Cordova, among others.

However, none of them can be considered household Hollywood names.

Plus, fans on social media are quite disappointed that Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving won’t return as Galadriel and Elrond.

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel

Sure, the plot happens 3000 years before the events of “The Hobbit” or the “Lord of the Rings,” but they are Elves and should look about the same despite the age gap.

I’m sure that Morfydd Clark and Robert Aramayo are talented young actors, but Blanchett and Weaving were iconic in their roles, so the change could rub some nostalgic fans the wrong way.

Overall, the cast and crew of “LOTR: The Rings of Power” – including the creators, Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, and some producers like Lindsey Weber, are far from bad.

There’s so much talent and potential here, but I’m not sure how well-received they’ll be, considering the huge budget and not a single household, A-list name among them.

Source Material: History of Middle-earth’s Fabled Second Age

Now, this is something that we – Tolkien fans – don’t have to worry about. The source material is absolutely phenomenal, regardless of which Age of Middle-earth’s history we’re talking about. For sure, it will be an epic story. The problem is – how well-adapted will the source material be for the TV show?

After all, reading a book and watching “The Lord of the Rings” series is a completely different experience, and the material should be adapted to fit the medium. For the sake of argument, let’s consider that the adaptation goes smoothly.

The History of Middle-earth

We’re actually going in reverse, chronologically speaking. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy came out first, happening in the Third Age of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Then, we got “The Hobbit” trilogy, which is also in the Third Age, but 60-ish years prior to the events of the Fellowship saga.

Middle-earth in The Rings of Power

Middle-earth in The Rings of Power

Now, “LOTR: The Rings of Power” series is going even further back in time – into the Second Age of Middle-earth, around 3000 years before the events we’ve seen in the movies. So, what does that mean to us fans?

It means we’re getting introduced to a plethora of new characters, events, and situations that are nothing like what we’re used to seeing in the movies.

Sure, it’s still Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but in a completely different Age, without all the characters we grew to love. Well, except for some of the Elves.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve read Tolkien’s books at least a dozen times – including “The Silmarillion” and all the little notes and snippets he had left behind that were released to the public.

The Rings of Power teaser trailer

And all of it is spectacular. The guy went into such details that it’ll be super difficult for the writers to choose what to include and what not to include in the series.

But that’s not my point. We shouldn’t worry about the source material. My point is that most fans haven’t read the books but are huge fans of the movies. So, if you’re expecting something super-similar to the original trilogy, you might be heading for disappointment. 

All of Tolkien’s work is awesome, but the Ages are different, the characters are different, and the plot is different.

Can LOTR: The Rings Of Power Succeed Like The Trilogy?

We’ve laid out many pros and cons of the upcoming series. My humble opinion is that the show is likelier to flop hard than to succeed as big as the original trilogy. Still, let’s lay out everything to see why that’s the case.

Why It Could Succeed

The show has such a huge budget that it really has a huge success potential. The CGI will certainly be breathtaking – along with wonderful locations in New Zealand. Combine that with the great source material, and you have success written all over “The Rings of Power.”

To add to it, the cast might not be as well-known as the cast from the movies, but there are many incredibly talented actresses and actors involved in the project that’ll certainly surprise some viewers with their performances.

Why It Could Flop

If we’ve learned anything from TV and movie history, it’s that money isn’t everything. Amazon’s first attempt for “their own Game of Thrones,” aka “The Wheel of Time,” wasn’t a huge flop, but considering the budget it had, it was a flop nevertheless.

Heck, even Season 8 of “Game of Thrones” had the biggest budget of all the seasons, and it’s by far the worst one of the show.

Also, the success of the original movie trilogy could prove to be the greatest downfall of the new series. Nostalgic fans will want something that takes them back to Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth, and I’m highly doubtful that the show can even come close to that. Also, the cast of the show is undoubtedly talented, but just not on the same level as the cast for the trilogy.

The Bottom Line

In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see. The ingredients for success are here, but there’s also so much room for error, especially given the high expectations set with the colossal budget and the fans of the trilogy.

What is The Rings of Power based on?

Like all the major stories from Tolkien’s Middle-earth, “The Rings of Power” will be majorly based on The Silmarillion. Because of that, we can expect an epic tale with a lot of familiars “The Lord of the Rings” characters, and Middle earth’s fictional races.

What characters can we expect in The Rings of Power?

Based on the released character posters, the first teaser trailer, what executive producers said, and what Amazon Studios announced, we will see some of the familiar faces. Namely, the series’ lead villain is expected to be the Dark Lord Sauron. On top of that, we will see some unlikely heroes from the past, like the dwarf from Misty Mountains – Owain Arthur will play Prince Durin IV, and some human characters, mortal men, like Isildur and Elendil.

Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV in The Rings of Power

Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV in The Rings of Power

Where can you watch The Rings of Power?

The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Rings of Power, will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video when it’s released on September 2, 2022. For the time being, you won’t be able to watch The Rings of Power on any other streaming service.

Is The Rings of Power a prequel to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy?

The story of “The Rings of Power” is set in the Second age, before the story of the Peter Jackson trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings,” which is set in the Third Age. Probably, the whole first season of The Rings of Power will be set in the same age.


Jimmy P

Senior Editor, BuddyTV