The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Might Be Proving John Rhys-Davies Wrong

Although "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has more than justified its existence, there was a lot of (warranted) skepticism about the project. I'm not talking about the ignorant backlash towards the casting, but the fact that mega-company Amazon wanted to adapt J. R. R. Tolkien's work on the small screen. What more could be done in the lands of Middle-earth that Peter Jackson's seminal trilogy didn't cover? Well, an actor from those films shared that same sentiment.

To give a quick history lesson, Amazon was not the only entity that wanted to purchase the rights to the fantasy franchise. Even worse so, other studios bidding for the rights wanted to remake "The Lord of the Rings" into an MCU-style franchise. Amazon won out not just because of the price tag ($250 million), but their commitment to honoring the canon and not telling the same story already seen on the big screen. Of course, the monetary focus of the entire debacle did not really help the optics.

John Rhys-Davies, who played the Gimli in "The Lord of the Rings" films, expressed distrust in the latest adaptation of Tolkien's work. His words were valid, but it now seems as if "The Rings of Power" has firmly proved him wrong.

Some valid skepticism

Rhys-Davies discussed the TV adaptation with Den of Geek back in 2017, five years before "The Rings of Power" hit streaming. With very few details available at the time about the project, Rhys-Davies made it clear that he saw it as a clear cash-grab, an unnecessary return to Middle-earth: "'s not about doing it better, it's about making more money that's all." 

Of course, he has a fair point. The reason Amazon bought and spent billions on acquiring the "Lord of the Rings" property is the expected return on investment. However, the same can be said for "The Hobbit" trilogy. Perhaps worse so, as it stretches the source material to force more films out of it. "The Rings of Power" goes another route, filling in the blanks of the canon where it makes sense.

Instead of revisiting the "The Lord of the Rings," Rhys-Davies proposed another solution to the fantasy drought.

"Lord Of The Rings spun-off an awful lot of imitations about elves and dwarves and things like that and I would simply buy those up and put them together and make a wonderful elvish... That would make a far more interesting account of Tolkien's words, in a world like that. And you know there are hundreds and hundreds of young writers, who have made their contributions and if was a well-heeled film producer, that's where I'd be looking, because that gives more actors more chances and it's still a great tribute to Tolkien. It costs less to make and it would be original and fresh, but then what the hell do I know!?"

Coincidentally, Rhys-Davies' suggestion may actually apply to what "The Rings of Power" is trying to do.

A worthwhile endeavor

We've already discussed what makes something Tolkien-esque, but to Rhys-Davies' point, I think "The Rings of Power" establishes that it does not want to tread familiar ground unless warranted. Focusing on the events of the Second Age previewed in the opening of "The Fellowship of the Ring," the series sets its sights on never-before-seen parts of Middle-earth history. Moreover, it expands on aspects of the canon otherwise not explained by Tolkien without losing the thematic value of his words.

"The Rings of Power" does try to adhere to what worked in the film trilogy in some ways — like that musical score, for example — but it forges its own path by reimagining characters and adding worthwhile details to the source material. In fact, it outdoes some aspects of the movies, including the already-brilliant dwarf-elf bromance between Legolas and Gimli with Elrond and Durin. But that's not the show's motivation, either. It is unfathomable that any film or television series will recapture what the original trilogy pulled off. However, if "The Rings of Power" can do things their own way without veering too far off, I think Rhys-Davies may enjoy what it has to offer.

The season finale of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" arrives on October 14.