Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power First Look: Back To Middle-Earth

The world is changed. Can you feel it in the water, in the earth, and in the air? Those are (more or less) the opening words spoken in voiceover at the beginning of "The Fellowship of the Ring," but today that monologue delivered by Cate Blanchett's Elven queen Galadriel is taking on a whole new meaning. Two decades after director Peter Jackson changed fantasy blockbusters forever with his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" novels, it sure looks like a safe bet that Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" series is about to change the world all over again.

Only a week after Amazon dropped a whole assortment of character posters on us and mere days ahead of the imminent arrival of the first trailer for the new, highly-anticipated show on Super Bowl Sunday, Vanity Fair has released a batch of exciting first-look images and fresh plot details straight from the set. We're finally getting a solid idea of where and when this sprawling epic is taking place, which characters are involved (both familiar and brand-new), and what specific events taken directly from Middle-earth history we can expect to take place.

First, we now have official confirmation of previous reports that actor Morfydd Clark will indeed be portraying the immortal Galadriel, though roughly two thousand years younger than the version of the character we saw in both "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit." In a notable difference from the calm and serene queen who merely aids our heroes on their quest at a crucial juncture, this Galadriel takes a far more active role in the events. The series apparently begins with Sauron, the main villain of the original trilogy, already in hiding after the defeat of his far more powerful Dark Lord, Morgoth. As the report describes, "Galadriel is hunting down the last remnants of their collaborators, who claimed the life of her brother."

Read on for even more extensive details!

Everything to Know About The Rings of Power

The "Rings of Power" series isn't based on any specific Tolkien novel, but on the appendices that record the past events in Middle-earth that the author included at the end of "The Return of the King." As we've covered previously, the series will predominantly concern itself with the forging of the Rings of Power, which would go on to play a central role in "The Lord of the Rings" all those years later. According to showrunners Patrick McKay and JD Payne, 

"The forging of the Rings. Rings for the Elves, rings for Dwarves, rings for Men, and then the One Ring Sauron used to deceive them all. It's the story of the creation of all those powers, where they came from, and what they did to each of those races."

Vanity Fair, who were lucky enough to watch the first three episodes of the upcoming series, describe the tone as "lavish, compelling mix of palace intrigue, magic, warfare, and mythology," which will likely fuel all sorts of jealousy among fans (definitely not me though, no sir) at the same time that it drives expectations even higher. For those who might be worried about the creative direction this series takes, rest assured that the famously protective Tolkien Estate required input on the show when they first struck the deal with Amazon for the rights to create this show.

Other major players in "The Rings of Power" include a younger version of Elrond (portrayed by Hugo Weaving in the Jackson films), now played by Robert Aramayo after Will Poulter dropped out due to scheduling issues, as well as famous figures in Middle-earth such as the Elven smith who forges the Rings, Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards), the ancestor of Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and the man who will eventually cut the Ring from Sauron's finger, Isildur (Maxim Baldry), a wholly original character named Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) described only as a mortal who's "running from the past," the Dwarven Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), and many, many more.

Be sure to head on over to the Vanity Fair article for even more images and details. "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on September 2, 2022.