Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is currently airing its freshman season, but some very different shows could have come out of the woodwork had Amazon not won the rights from the Tolkien Estate. According to reports, one of these shows would have been run by HBO, which wanted to do a reboot of familiar material.


J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium specifies that Middle Earth has not been the same across the ages. The First Age of Middle Earth covers the creation myth of the world, the Second Age covers the coming of Men and the forging of the Rings of Power, and the Third Age covers the dwindling of the magical races and eventually culminates with The Lord of the Rings, which ends as the Fourth Age begins and Man’s rise is complete. Eventually, Tolkien intended that Middle Earth become a regular, modern world. The Rings of Power takes place in Middle Earth’s Second Age. It covers a period of time which has previously gone unfilmed and untouched by live-action adaptations, allowing for showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne some leeway to make the world their own.

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RELATED: Rings of Power Season 2 Begins Filming Ahead of Season 1 Finale

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, when the Tolkien Estate (which is famously protective of Tolkien’s works) announced that they were entertaining bids for a Lord of the Rings television show back in 2017, it wasn’t only Amazon that answered the call. HBO, which was airing Game of Thrones at the time, was interested in making its own show. The Estate did not enjoy their proposal, however, as HBO wanted to remake the Third Age of Middle Earth, and the Estate did not want to retread familiar ground.

Though Tolkien’s son, Christopher, had issues with the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings film adaptations (famously saying that the films “eviscerated” his father’s work), the Estate did not seem keen on rectifying this with a new adaptation. They seemed even less impressed with Netflix’s suggestion of doing an interconnected universe with an Aragorn show and a Gandalf show, which would create a shared universe. An insider reportedly said of that approach, “They took the Marvel approach, and that completely freaked out the estate.”

It is probably inevitable that House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power have been pitted against one another. McKay touches on this in The Hollywood Reporter piece, somewhat wearily saying, “It dominates the narrative about how it’s received. But it was not at all part of the narrative in how our show was conceived. Hopefully, we’re competing against ourselves.”

Ultimately, the fate of both Rings of Power and House of the Dragon is secured for another season, but beyond that, it is difficult to say what the future holds just yet. But the history of both shows would have probably been radically altered had the Tolkien Estate taken HBO’s offer, and a much different fantasy landscape would be happening now.

The Rings of Power airs new episodes on Fridays on Amazon Prime.

MORE: LOTR Rings of Power: Easter Eggs For Book Readers In Episodes 5 & 6

Source: The Hollywood Reporter



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