The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Season 2 Has Already Begun Filming

When the marketing started for Amazon's billion-dollar gamble, "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" I was underwhelmed, to say the least. I always had hope that I'd dig the show, but my expectations were pretty low going in, which is shocking considering how much I revere the Peter Jackson Middle Earth films. To me, the marketing was trying to show how different yet the same the show would be from what we've seen before and that was an odd mixture. "Look at this thing that you kinda recognize, but it's not quite right! Cool, yeah?" 

That said, they must have done something right because a crap-ton of people tuned in, clocking 1.3 billion minutes viewed with just the first two episodes alone, outperforming heavy hitters like the "Game of Thrones" spin-off "House of the Dragon" and "NCIS." It helps that the show is good, actually, but its runaway success and the huge investment from Amazon all but guaranteed we'd be getting a second season. 

Well, now it's officially real because production just began on the second season in the new Bray Studios just outside of London. That's right. More adorable halflings, nasty orcs (excuse me, Uruks), arrogant yet beautiful elves, smartass dwarves, and filthy menfolk are on the way.

Goodbye, New Zealand

One of the things that "The Rings of Power" is doing very well is setting up a bunch of mysteries within a world we already feel like we know. Who is that mystery man who fell out of the sky? Ask one person and they're sure it's Gandalf. Ask another and they're positive it's really Sauron. While all these nerdy questions are floated, we're allowed to sink back into Middle Earth in a whole new era that, as the marketing I disliked promised, is both familiar and different.

The next season might drive an even further wedge in that familiarity gap as production is moving fully to the U.K. whereas the first season shot in New Zealand, the world's real-life Middle Earth that also served as the backdrop for Peter Jackson's two Tolkien Trilogies. The U.K. was the author's jumping-off point for his "Lord of the Rings" work so it might be more accurate to the original intention, but New Zealand is and always will be the location most will think of as Middle Earth.

But time will tell how the new location plays out onscreen. What really matters is the writing and character work continuing to be top-notch. As of this writing, the last episode was one of the coolest hours of fantasy TV ever put out with one hell of an explosive ending that sets the stage for some really cool, deeply nerdy things to come.