The most expensive series in television history finally has a release date.
Amazon Studios announced that the first season of The Lord of the Rings series finished filming in New Zealand on Monday, and that the show – which cost $465 million to make – is now set to premiere on September 2, 2022. The first season of the series will feature eight episodes shown weekly.
The studio also shared one of the first visuals from the show. The teaser image shows a person standing in a field looking out at what appears to be the city of Valmar, the heaven of Middle-earth, known for its great golden gates.
Both the plot and the title of the series remain under wraps, but the story is believed to be set during the Second Age of Middle-earth’s history, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The time period has been frequently alluded to, but never depicted on screen apart from a few flashbacks, including the opening sequence of the 2001 film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
“As Bilbo says: ‘Now I think I am quite ready to go on another journey,’” showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay said. “Living and breathing Middle-earth these many months has been the adventure of a lifetime. We cannot wait for fans to have the chance to do so as well.”
The cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry and Nazanin Boniadi.
The series will premiere on Prime Video, said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “I can’t express enough just how excited we all are to take our global audience on a new and epic journey through Middle-earth. Our talented producers, cast, creative and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”
Amazon Studios first announced the project in November 2017, when it bought the television rights for The Lord of the Rings for $250 million and made a five-season commitment worth more than $1 billion.
Payne and McKay began developing the series in 2018 and filming began in New Zealand – where the film trilogy was made – in February 2020. Production came to a stop in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but resumed in September.