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.

Taika Waititi Hints That The Mandalorian's Baby Yoda Could Be Female

© LUCASFILM
© LUCASFILM

Various collaborators behind The Mandalorian have made it abundantly clear that while we're all obsessing over Baby Yoda, the show’s tiny breakout star, we really don’t know much about him. Including whether the character officially known as "The Child" is a "him" at all.

Entertainment Weekly reports that JoJo Rabbit director Taika Waititi, who directed The Mandalorian's season 1 finale, recently blew Baby Yoda fans's minds when he suggested that he could be a she. "I knew that people would be talking about Baby Yoda, but I also know Baby Yoda’s real name," Waititi said. "So if you’re gonna do me a favor, please stop calling him Baby Yoda. Or is it a her? No one knows!"

Both Waititi and series creator Jon Favreau have debunked the worldwide nickname of the miniature character. The two have corrected fans, explaining that The Child couldn't actually be a younger version of Yoda because the timelines don’t match up. The Disney+ show is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, which means Yoda is already 905 years old. The Child, however, is only about 50. Though clearly he (or she) is the same species as the iconic Jedi master, whose origin story has always been very secretive, none of this will do anything to dissuade us from calling the creature Baby Yoda.

Keep your eyes peeled for season 2 of The Mandalorian, which will debut in fall 2020, to (hopefully) find out more about Baby Yoda’s true identity—and gender.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite Makes History With Its Best Picture Oscar Nomination

Ji-so Jung stars in Bong Joon Ho's Parasite (2019).
Ji-so Jung stars in Bong Joon Ho's Parasite (2019).
Neon

Ever since Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite became the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last May, critics have been whispering (or shouting) about its potential to take home the Best Picture Oscar, as well.

Now that goal is within reach: This morning, the gripping thriller secured a Best Picture Oscar nomination—a first for a South Korean film. Though none of the individual actors were nominated for their performances, Bong Joon Ho made the list for Best Director, and the film is also in the running for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing.

If Parasite wins Best Picture this year, it won’t just be the first South Korean film to do so—it’ll be the first foreign film to ever walk away with the award. Many thought Roma had a good chance of achieving that honor last year, but the Netflix-distributed Mexican drama ultimately lost to Green Book.

According to Variety, Parasite has grossed $25.4 million at the U.S. box office and an overall $132.3 million worldwide, and HBO is currently developing it as a miniseries.

The film, which is almost entirely in Korean, has helped many viewers overcome a characteristically American aversion to subtitles, something that Bong Joon Ho didn’t fail to mention in his Golden Globes acceptance speech after winning the Best Foreign Film award.

“Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles,” he said via his translator, “You will be used to so many more amazing films.”

This year’s Academy Awards air on ABC on Sunday, February 9.

[h/t Variety]

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