The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay recently detailed the four stories they plan on adapting for their show.
In a new Vanity Fair article attempting to defend the show from its growing amount of critics, showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay explained the four major stories they are adapting for their show.
First they detailed the show will begin with “the forging of the rings.” McKay explains, “We’re going back thousands of years to when the party was in full swing.”
He adds, “We’re going to see the elf capital of Lindon where Elrond is a young up-and-coming operator within the political scene of the high elves during their glory day.”
As part of this story, they will show Elrond’s evolution. Payne states, “Elrond, we know from the Third Age, has a pretty bleak view on humans. He says, ‘Men are weak’ because he’s seen the foibles of humankind.”
“In some ways the Third Age is almost postapocalyptic Middle-earth. The elves have one foot out the door…. We’re going to watch as Elrond goes from optimistic to a bit more world-weary,” he adds.
Their second story will be “the rise of Sauron himself, when he was a physical villain.”
Vanity Fair explains this part of the story will be aligned with Galadriel’s story, “He may be hiding in plain sight or he may be yet to come, but Galadriel’s search for him takes her, and eventually the strange human she’s encountered, Halbrand, all over the map.”
Next, they will tell the story of “the rise and fall of the island kingdom of Númenor.”
As part of this story, they will follow a young Isildur, the man who cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand and defeated him before succumbing to the temptations of the One Ring that resulted in his death at the hand of a band of Orcs.
McKay provides some brief details, “You meet Isildur and he’s like Michael Corleone. He’s the young member of the family who has optimism and immaturity. Trace that guy to the tragic, final decision rather than the mistake of a fool.”
Isildur’s story will also run into the fourth major arc, which is the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and their war against Sauron.
As for the first season, McKay says it’s basically an introduction to the show. He explains, “We didn’t want to do a villain-centric thing. We wanted it to be about introducing these worlds and the peoples who dwell in them and the major heroes and characters, some of whom you know, and some of whom are new.”
He then adds, “Season two we go a little bit deeper into the lore and the stories people have been waiting to hear.”
While they reveal these are the four major stories they plan on covering in the show, it’s unclear how they will adapt them as the showrunners revealed they do not have the rights to Tolkien’s work that cover in-depth many of these stories.
Payne revealed, “We have the rights solely to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the appendices, and The Hobbit. And that is it. We do not have the rights toThe Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, or any of those other books.”
Given they don’t have the rights to these books, McKay explained how they are adapting Tolkien’s work, “There’s a version of everything we need for the Second Age in the books we have the rights to.”
He adds, “As long as we’re painting within those lines and not egregiously contradicting something we don’t have the rights to, there’s a lot of leeway and room to dramatize and tell some of the best stories that [Tolkien] ever came up with.”
What do you make of these four stories that they plan to adapt?