We have until then to speculate what specifically it will be about, and whether it will be any good. One thing’s worth clearing up now, though: It’s not simply going to be a readaptation of anything Peter Jackson has already put to film: that is, the events of the Third Age (and, briefly, the Fourth Age) of Middle-Earth. In fact, in that sense, it’s somewhat misleading even to call it a Lord of the Rings TV series. It will instead cover events that long preceded the tales of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. J. R. R. Tolkien, from whose pen the entire Legendarium of Middle-Earth flowed, created an expansive history and mythology for it that includes thousands of years preceding those more-familiar tales, which are merely a later entry thereof. It is from some still-unclear portion of these earlier tales that this new Amazon series will draw.
What exactly will be covered, we do not know. Precious few hints have emerged, though the first summary of the series mentioned the kingdom of Númenor, a sort of Atlantis stand-in long lost by the time of the events of the Lord of the Rings, and we already know that the role of Galadriel has been recast . . . though since she is one of the oldest beings in Middle-Earth, this doesn’t much help us figure out the timing of the show. We may have gotten one hint from what appears to be concept art released by Amazon in conjunction with news of filming having wrapped and a release date having been decided.
In the background of this image, behind the city, are two very large trees. Could these be Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees of the Valinor? That would put the series even further into Middle-Earth’s past than we thought. This is not a guarantee; there are many important trees in the Legendarium, some of which make more sense as candidates. (Leave it to Tolkien to make this question of arboreal identification so interesting.) At any rate, I look forward to discovering the answer to this question, as well as to the much more important one of whether this show will be any good or will instead try to “modernize” and thus ruin the timeless verities in which Tolkien’s work is rooted, when the show comes out . . . next year. Until then, well, there’s always the original trilogy . . . and the Soviet adaptation.