The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Footage Reaction: One Prime Video Show To Rule Them All [Comic-Con]

San Diego Comic-Con just debuted new footage from the upcoming Prime Video series "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," and /Film was there to see it. The show's story is set thousands of years before Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies. It's the Second Age of Middle-earth, and things are not well in the land. At least the elf Galadriel (Morfydd Clark, playing the same role Cate Blanchett played in the original trilogy) can see that something is wrong. 

This is the time in the writings of author J.R.R. Tolkien in which Sauron appeared and convinced the elf Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) to help create the 19 rings of power, which weren't the gifts that they appeared to be. We know what happened with the One Ring that ruled them all later on, but now we're going to learn how it all started. 

After debuting a brand new trailer (which you can see here), five clips were shown for the folks in Hall H, and we've got the breakdown for you below.

Elrond meets Durin

The first clip finds Elrond entering a Dwarven city. It's massive, glorious, and underground. In a chamber full of dwarves, he's met with a mixture of reverence and mockery — they clearly don't take him too seriously (after all, there's a long history between elves and dwarves), but Elrond's hosts put on a show of honor. There, the elf is met by the dwarven leader, Prince Durin IV. This particularly boastful dwarf has a big personality and an even bigger beard. Elrond has agreed to enter a contest of dwarven endurance, in which he and Durin will trade off smashing stones in front of the crowd. If Elrond can break more stones, the dwarves will grant him a boon. If he fails, he will be exiled forever from all dwarven cities. It's vaguely similar to the folkloric figure of John Henry, who used a hammer to smash his way through a mountain in a competition with a steam-powered machine. Considering Tolkien pulled from all sorts of myth and folklore to build his fictional worlds, this feels like a cool way for the showrunners here to do something similar. As the clip comes to a close, one stone is brought in and Durin effortlessly smashes it. Elrond smirks, raises his pickaxe, and brings it down — but the footage ends before we saw the outcome. 

One thing's for sure: This show looks expensive. We were impressed by the varied dwarven designs, costumes, and make-up, and were amused by the BIG performance from Owain Arthur, who's playing Durin and clearly having the time of his life.

Nori and Poppy in the woods

In the second clip, Nori and Poppy (two harfoots, which are essentially proto-hobbits), approach a crater in the wilderness. It's on fire, and there are embers everywhere. At the center of the crater is a "giant," meaning an ordinary-looking man with a beard, who is nude and ragged. Nori wants to investigate, but Poppy is more cautious. Against Poppy's wishes, Nori steps into the crater and stumbles, landing on an ember ... only to realize that it isn't hot. She approaches the man, known as The Stranger, who appears to have fallen from the skies to form this crater. The forced perspective here is really impressive — he really does look huge next to her. The Stranger suddenly wakes up and grab's Nori's hand. He's either in shock or pain, and he screams, leading to the stones and fire around him to rise into the air, defying gravity in a way that almost feels more like something out of an anime than what you'd typically find in a Tolkien story. The flames suddenly go out and the Stranger passes out. But as he hits the ground again, the flames rekindle. Nori doesn't want to leave the "giant," and she begs Poppy to help her bring him to safety. Poppy wonders how they'll move a giant.

This clip was intriguing, featuring solid performances from Markella Kavenagh as Nori and Megan Richards as Poppy. Even though they're playing harfoots, who are a nomadic tribe and not the settled, comfortable Shire folk of the hobbits in "The Lord of the Rings" movies, they still feel very much in line with the type of grounded, in-over-their-head perspective in a sprawling fantasy story. Aesthetically, this doesn't look far off from what Jackson did with his groundbreaking trilogy, and the production values are incredibly strong.

Arondir's escape

In the third camp, an elf named Arondir finds himself in some kind work camp, chained and forced to work in an open air pit/mine along with dozens of other elves. An orc (or is it a goblin?) overseer watches from under a white hood, the sunlight clearly stinging its skin. Arondir, who is clearly this show's version of Legolas, kickstarts an escape plan, using the long chain attached to his ankle to as a whip and utilizing dance-like moves to beat the orc with it. The other elves join in, fighting their captors, using pick axes to try to break their chains. One elf makes a run for it, but an orc's axe slams in his back, killing him. More hooded orcs swarm nearby, gathered under a shoddy looking tent to protect them from the sun. They pull the chains on the slaves/workers, extending them ... and Arondir, in true elf-style, dashes across the raised chains like an acrobat, grabbing an axe and swinging at the supports protecting the hooded orcs. Their entire structure comes down, and the orcs start to sizzle in the sun, cowering in pain. The sunlight doesn't quite turn them to stone like it does for trolls, but let's just say these guys could use some serious sunscreen. Their light skin almost makes them look albino, and this is clearly an early form of the creatures we'd go on to see later in the franchise.

The action looks pretty slick, although you can tell that it's not as clean or exciting as what Jackson was able to deliver in the original trilogy. But at least the orc characters, with their white hoods and truly grotesque faces, look phenomenal.

Galadriel the warrior

The next clip was significantly shorter. Galadriel stands in an Elvish community, with lots of little buildings and stairs and displays built into the forest and the cliffs. It looks carefully designed to not disturb nature, and it's blanketed with beautiful orange leaves. Galadriel examines a mural depicting a ship sailing toward the horizon. Elrond approaches and they speak to one another in Elvish — they are clearly very close and are deeply affectionate toward one another. We learn that Galadriel has been leading armies into battle, and Elrond is surprised to see her looking so put-together, so clean. But she makes it clear she has seem some sh*t. The real gist of the scene is that Galadriel is finally home, finding some peace and able to take a breath, after leading armies against monsters and evil for some time. Rest up, Gal — that breather probably won't last long.

Heading home

A human named Halbrand and Galadriel are on a ship. Both look ragged, like they have escaped a bad situation or have been in the midst of a bad situation. The captain of the ship approaches them, and there is no immediate love here. Galadriel demands to know where they're going. "Home," the captain says. The ship enters a passageway carved into cliffs. They pass by massive faces carved into the stone, and giant statues/fountains carved out of the mountainside. Halbrand is baffled, but Galadriel knows where they are: Númenor, the massive city on the western edge of Middle-earth. They pass under a giant bridge and sail toward a sprawling, beautiful city, easily the biggest city we've seen in a "Lord of the Rings" project onscreen. It's shot and scored like this is a big, big deal — and for Tolkien nerds it is, since this city will suffer a major downfall before the events of the original trilogy.

This is very obviously an attempt to capture some of the magic of the fellowship passing under the giant statues on the river in "The Fellowship of the Ring." It's not quite as powerful, but it's definitely an echo, and that seems to be a microcosm of the approach here: Familiar, but different.

'You have not seen what I have seen'

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien's pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" will premiere on Prime Video on September 2, 2022.