Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ series to debut September 2022, shares first look

Lord of the Rings Amazon
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

To quote Bilbo Baggins, “I think I’m quite ready for another adventure,” and now we know when that adventure will begin. Amazon Studios has announced the premiere date for its Lord of the Rings original series (it still does not have an official title), with it hitting Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 2, 2022.

The news comes from an Amazon Studio press release, accompanied with our first look at the new series (above) to commemorate the end of production on season one in New Zealand.

The first look image is a beautiful depiction of an as yet unknown locale for the series with a lone individual coming over a hill. Lord of the Rings superfans may be able to piece together what the city is and who the character in the photo may be, but for the rest of us at the very least it’s a welcoming image that evokes the scale and feel that helped define the trilogy of films from the early 2000s.

This Lord of the Rings original series will take fans to an era of Middle-earth never before seen, Tolkien’s fabled Second Age, thousands of years before the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The series will feature new characters and familiar ones (elves can live a long time you know) as they “confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth,”  according to Amazon Studios.

The cast of the Lord of the Rings series includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani. J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are the showrunners. J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is directing some of the first season’s episodes.

“Living and breathing Middle-earth these many months has been the adventure of a lifetime,” said Payne and McKay. “We cannot wait for fans to have the chance to do so as well.”

Things could very well be different from past adventures in Middle-earth, however. Rumors popped up last fall that the series could feature some sex scenes and nudity, which a number of Lord of the Rings fans have voiced their displeasure about in the form of petitions. Whether or not the rumors are true, the series is not based on any specific, pre-existing Tolkien story, so some creative liberties are likely.

The Lord of the Rings series will be Amazon Studios’ biggest production to date — the first season cost a reported $465 million — but it will join an Amazon Prime Video lineup that includes popular original series like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Good Omens and Modern Love.

The Lord of the Rings original series will be available in 240 countries and territories when it premieres on Sept. 2, 2022, with new episodes being released every week. To watch the series, or any Amazon Original series, consumers must be signed up with an Amazon Prime account. 

You can head back to Middle-earth right now if you want, with the Lord of the Rings films available to rent and stream online. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.