Season two of Amazon Prime’s hotly-anticipated Lord of the Rings series will represent a significant departure for the franchise, with production on the sophomore season moving away from New Zealand and over to the UK.
It’s a surprising move, considering our neighbour to the east served as the location for Peter Jackson’s stunning LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies and especially seeing as Amazon invested huge sums of money in sets and facilities in New Zealand to facilitate the show’s debut season, which cost around $465 million.
However, the UK was the place that originally inspired author J.R.R. Tolkien, so perhaps it makes a modicum of sense.
Tolkien, who was born in South Africa in 1892, relocated to England with his family at the age of four and resided around Birmingham, including at the village of Sarehole, which Tolkien once cited as being the place that prompted him to create the fictional Shire in his epic series of novels.
However, the decision to produce the second season of the series in Blighty appears to have more to do with lowering the cost of the creation, with sources saying that the UK will be a more economical choice moving forward — especially as Amazon has already been heavily investing in studio space in the country and is shooting several other titles there.
Another factor that played a role in the move is New Zealand’s extremely strict protocol when it comes to dealing with the pandemic, which includes an aggressive lockdown policy. It has been reported that while these rules ensured the cast and crew of the first season were protected from the virus, it also resulted in several logistical obstacles, particularly as much of the cast is British.
This meant that whenever someone left the country, they would have to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to New Zealand and there were limits as to how many people could come and go from the production at any given time.
The series synopsis tells us that The Lord of the Rings 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 reemergence 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.”
Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman and Sara Zwangobani star in the series which will premiere globally on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 2, 2022.