In less than a month, the long-awaited series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will already be available on Amazon Prime Video, and although many fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s films are eagerly awaiting the release, there are also many who are not quite sure what showrunners John D. Payne and Patrick McKay have done, and even claim that the show is only “loosely connected” to the movies. Tolkien stories. Payne and McKay strongly deny this.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is about what happened in the period known as the Second Age of the Sun, but the information about it that the creators of the series had at their disposal is limited to the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, which is a much smaller number of pages than Tolkien’s novels have; for that reason, the showrunners chose to add characters and subplots that weren’t there.
Since it is not a direct adaptation of a book, as the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies were, there are many doubts among fans, but John D. Payne and Patrick McKay are very sure they have respected the essence of Tolkien’s writings and therefore they believe that it is false that The Rings of Power is “loosely connected”. This was what McKay said at the Television Critic Association press conference (via The Hollywood Reporter) when questioned by a reporter:
I just want to kind of quibble with ‘loosely connected’. We do not feel that it is so. We feel that the deep roots of this show are in the books and in Tolkien. And if we didn’t feel that way, we’d all be terrified to sit here. We feel that this story is not ours. It’s a story that we’re managing that was here before us and was waiting in those books to be on Earth. We don’t feel ‘loosely connected’. We feel very, very connected to those people and we work every day to be even more connected. That’s really how we think about it.
The showrunners also highlighted that for The Rings of Power they relied on several Tolkien experts, and said that they have been working on the project for 25 years, which is not entirely clear, but presumably they mean that they have thought about the idea of adapting the stories of the Second Age from 25 years ago.
Although it is clear that the series is something separate from the film adaptations, fans of these will be able to meet the younger versions of some well-known characters such as Galadriel, Elrond and Sauron; the first is performed by Morfydd Clark and the second by Robert Aramayo; of the villain it is not known who interprets it yet.