Everything We Know About Amazon's The Lord of the Rings Prequel Series

Amazon Studios
Amazon Studios

Set in Middle Earth’s 3441-year-long Second Age, Amazon Studios’ series will take place before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though plot details are unconfirmed, early reports suggest that the series could chronicle the forging of the rings, Sauron’s rise to power, the destruction of Númenor, and/or Elrond’s founding of Rivendell, all of which occur during that era.

Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Written by: J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay
Starring: Maxim Baldry, Will Poulter, Markella Kavenagh

TV Facts

  • Amazon Studios’s $250-million, five-season deal with the J.R.R. Tolkien estate, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema dictates that it must start production within two years. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke confirmed that they plan to begin filming next year (in New Zealand), and deliver the series to our screens in 2021.
  • According to Tom Shippey, a Tolkien scholar who will serve as the show’s Tolkien consultant, there are 20 episodes planned for Season 1.
  • Since the Tolkien estate retains the rights to the First and Third Ages, any event that falls outside the Second Age is strictly off-limits for the series. That means we won’t see a young Aragorn, who wasn’t born until the Third Age.
  • For source material, the writers will mainly be working off Tolkien’s three-page timeline from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings books, a list of the kings of Númenor, and the stories in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.
  • Cast members from Peter Jackson’s original The Lord of the Rings films including Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Andy Serkis (Gollum), and John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) don’t plan to be involved, nor does Jackson himself.
  • Sir Ian McKellen, however, is open to reprising his role. “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked,” McKellen told Graham Norton. “But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7000 years old, so I’m not too old.”

Amazon Studios will tentatively release season one of The Lord of the Rings to stream in 2021.

Everything We Know About the Reported Friends Reunion Coming From HBO Max

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

After years of wishing, hoping, and flat-out begging, Friends fans might finally get a reunion special. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the six main cast members—Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—as well as the creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, are in talks to reunite via HBO Max.

As much as we would love to see an actual episode showing where all the characters are now, more than 15 years later, the reunion is for an unscripted special with the beloved gang. The cast has reportedly been adamant over the years that they wouldn't be up for a scripted reboot of any kind.

Though this is the closest we’ve come to any kind of revival since NBC held a mini-Friends reunion in 2016 to honor legendary director and producer James Burrows, sources at THR warn us not to get too excited just yet. The networks are still ironing out the details of the deal, and if that can be decided upon, the next feat will be working around everyone’s schedules.

[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

Disney+ Users Are Already Facing Technical Problems

Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019).
Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019).
© 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

It seems that the highly anticipated Disney+ release did not go as smoothly as the company had hoped. Variety reports that the streaming service launched this morning, only to find its IT department being flooded with phone calls, tweets, and emails from angry users complaining of malfunctions.

Many customers took to social media to vent their frustration that they either couldn’t login into their account or couldn’t watch certain content.

The service did offer an explanation for all the technical issues via Twitter, posting, “The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our high expectations. We are working to quickly resolve the current user issue. We appreciate your patience.”

Too bad a little Disney magic couldn’t help them with these tech glitches.

[h/t Variety]

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