A new rumor claims there is a battle behind-the-scenes between editors and producers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on whether they should cut out Numenorean or Elven storylines for season two of the Prime Video series.
This new rumor comes from Fellowship of Fans and explains that producers for the series want the second season to focus more on the Numenorean story instead of the Elves while editors are in favor of the Elven storyline over the Numenorean storyline.
It’s unclear why the producers want more of the Numenorean storyline, but the editors want the Elven storyline because it apparently leads into a big 2-episode battle that concludes the second season.
This two-episode battle was confirmed back in October when The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd took a set visit and reported, “They plan to introduce more iconic locations, familiar Middle-earth characters and a massive two-episode battle.”
The outlet notes, “It was revealed to FoF that the specific plot-line which the Rings of Power producers wanted to cut down to compromise for more Numenor scenes was the Elven plot-line in season 2.”
An anonymous source also told the outlet, “The editing team are the professionals they know about the pace and what makes sense for the episodes to have the right rhythm and make sense but the producers are staying firm with this suggestion.”
Regardless of why they are fighting, this problem appears to be one of their own making. Instead of breaking up various stories from the Second Age over five seasons and culminating with the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay chose to write the novel that Tolkien that didn’t.
Back in February, McKay revealed their ambition to Vanity Fair, “Can we come up with the novel Tolkien never wrote and do it as the mega-event series that could only happen now?”
To that end they also explained why they were not staying true to Tolkien’s legendarium, “If you are true to the exact letter of the law, you are going to be telling a story in which your human characters are dying off every season because you’re jumping 200 years in time, and then you’re not meeting really big, important canon characters until season four. Look, there might be some fans who want us to do a documentary of Middle-earth, but we’re going to tell one story that unites all these things.”
The solution to this problem as alluded to above is breaking up all the major events into one or two seasons each and then culminating them with an entire season on the Last Alliance of Men and Elves.
Thus you would have probably two seasons for the creation of the Rings of Power, the One Ring, and Sauron’s war on the Elves. The first season would probably be Sauron’s return to Middle-earth and his posing as Annatar the Giver of Gifts whereupon he begins to manipulate the Elves into buildings the rings of power. This could be a very Game of Thrones-esque season with a lot of palace intrigue and Sauron manipulating the political levers of Eregion and driving out his chief moral and political foe Galadriel. The season would culminate in the creation of the One Ring and the Elves becoming aware of Sauron.
The second season would focus on Sauron’s war on the Elves and his invasion of Eriador. It would feature a battle at Eregion, the death of Celebrimbor, the mines of Moria being shut, the creation of the settlement of Rivendell, and the aid the Númenoreans provide Gil-galad. It concludes with Sauron having conquered Eriador, but the Númenoreans arrive.
The third season focuses on the Númenoreans initial war with Sauron. It would feature the arrival of the Ring-wraiths and Sauron’s initial attacks on the strong places of the Númenóreans. This season could also begin to feature internal Númenorean politics and how the nation began to abandon its traditions and at times outright ban them.
The fourth season would feature Sauron’s surrender to the Númenoreans and his subsequent manipulating of Ar-Pharazôn that leads to the ultimate Downfall of Númenor. It would see Sauron turn Númenor into a despotic state where political and moral dissidents are rounded up and burned. The white tree of Nimloth would be chopped down, but not before Isildur rescued the scion of the tree. It would also see Ar-Pharazôn lead the Númenorean military against Valinor resulting in their utter destruction and the destruction of Númenor. The season would conclude with us seeing Elendil and his sons escape the destruction with the ships they had prepared and make their way to Middle-earth.
Finally, the fifth season sees Sauron’s war against the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. We would see the death of Elendil. The slicing of the ring from Sauron’s hand by Isildur, his refusal to destroy the One Ring, and ultimately his death at the hands of an orc war band. There are numerous battles that could take place as Gil-galad and Elrond lead the Elves alongside Elendil and the Númenoreans.
As far as the idea of certain characters not showing up until the fourth season, there is absolutely no problem with that. Major characters are indeed introduced a lot of times in stories in the second and third seasons and viewers have no problems with it.
Prime Video is doing that in the upcoming second season of The Wheel of Time. They are introducing both Aviendha and Elayne Trakand, two of the biggest characters in Jordan’s novel series in the second season. They were not in the first season.
What do you make of this rumored dispute between the producers and editors for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?