Rather than being demoted for season two, the latest word on the street suggests that Amazon will keep current The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay in their current roles for at least one more outing in order to boost the first season’s chances of securing an Emmy.
As previously reported, word of Payne and McKay’s apparent relegation to the series’ writer room was first shared by noted film critic, industry insider, and Film Threat founder Chris Gore during an appearance on the 314th episode of the YouTube livestream show Midnight’s Edge in the Morning.
“I heard from someone who has a connect at Amazon that – if you wanna know – that effectively, they’re going to be retooling,” he explained. “And [Payne and McKay] are more than likely…they’re not gonna be publicly fired, but their role will be reduced.”
“Potentially just remaining in the writers room,” he added, “but my understanding is they’re looking for more experienced showrunners.”
Gore detailed that Amazon is “well aware of the problems” before noting that while “there’s what they publicly say,” there’s also “what they’re actually doing behind the scenes”.
“And what they’re doing behind the scenes,” he then asserted, “is they’re freaking out that this was more of a failure than could have been anticipated.”
Further, the critic speculated that there were three reasons as to why Amazon was supposedly seeking to change up the series’ production team.
“I think the quality of the show is the number one thing,” he first opined. “[Audiences are] like ‘Why am I still watching this? This is sleep inducing.’”
The second thing is the total rejection from fans,” he next suggested. “I can’t believe…there has to be very few people who remain who still like it.”
“And thirdly, the direct competition from House of the Dragon, ” he concluded. “Even like pre-seed and post-seed [of the show’s airing], it started earlier and is ending later [thus keeping it in viewers’ consciousness for a longer period of time]”.
Following this initial reports, Bounding Into Comics was contacted by an insider source – whose identity is known to our editorial team, but is being kept anonymous at their request – with an update to the situation.
According to them, Amazon has since decided that rather than sideline Payne and McKay immediately, the two will be kept on for one more season.
The reason? The studio reportedly “wants Emmy awards,” and thanks to the overwhelmingly negatives optics such a shake-up would generate for the series, “sidelining them would spike any consideration in all categories.”
Unfortunately, there was a limit to the information that BIC’s source was privy to, and as such it is unknown whether Payne and McKay will retain the same creative control over the series they did in season one or if their continued roles as showrunners would be in name only.
For those curious as to what a waste of nearly a billion dollars looks like, the first season of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now streaming on Prime Video.