Amazon’s Head of Global TV Speaks About Season Two
Okay, so I’m told Argentina won the World Cup and something about one Mbappe (?) being the MVP or something, and also chickens… Oh, and there was also this little somethin’ about Seasons 2 and 3 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, as divulged to Deadline by Vernon Sanders, Head of Global TV at Amazon. Huh, fancy that.
As flippantly as I’m referring to this, this article is one last nail in the coffins of the naysayers who delude themselves that Season One was anything short of a financial success: Ol’ Vernon here tells us that the show “has been a tremendous success for us”, saying it performed well around the globe, breaking the streamer’s records for debuts on first day (25 million) and across the show’s run: 100 million and counting and minutes streamed (24 billion). That is not a reflection on the show’s artistic success, but commercially I think there was little doubt the show performed well; which was to be expected, with it using the “Lord of the Rings” name, of course.
It seems too that any rumour of McPayne or any of the creative team being ousted were again premature, with Sanders saying they are “absolutely committed” to their vision. Interestingly, he said they are “probably two or three months in on Season 3” – probably talking of some preliminary scripting – with news possibly coming in the new year. As per usual, there is an acknowledgement that Season 1 was about “establishing” and that it will be up to season 2 ff to “ramp up” the story. For someone a little bit wary of the show’s proclivity to depict creation myths, Sanders’ remark about “seeing what they [the Rings] can do” gave me a bit of a pause. Then again, his is probably a bird’s eye view of the production, and so his remarks on the minutiae of the storytelling should probably be taken with a modicum of conjucture. Other remarks on Season 2 involve “some characters” – plural – “from the lore.” So we can expect at least one more Tolkien character outside the previously announced Cirdan: The return of the MIA Celeborn, perhaps?
Much of the interview addresses a concern of mine about a possible disconnect between seasons: The recasting of Adar (“it didn’t work out”) but also the switch to the UK, which includes moving sets and reconstructing them across the globe. While they can retain the same plates for the establishing shots of the main locations (clearly, the wideshot of Numenore needn’t look one pixel different for the production having changed countries), clearly the shift to the UK is still significant, and Sanders says they scouted “places that look very different than what we saw in season one.” More encouragingly, he says they are able to shoot all across Europe, which will hopefully bring a lot of visual variety and richness to the visuals: I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: it was never our interest as viewers to have Middle Earth being shot in any one country when it could be shot across several.
Then comes in a word my burly masculine brain loves: “war!” Sanders promises some “bigger battles”, including “some iconic moments from the appendices.” McPayne had previously spoken about a two-episode battle, presumably at the season’s tail-end. One can only assume this is either the Sack of Eregion, the Battle of the Gwathlo, or some amalgamation of both. Even the character of Adar, though recast, “has some really exciting dynamic things to play”, suggesting that while Sauron is probably going to clean house, he’s not going to be rid of our favourite Moriondor – sorry “Uruk”, he prefers “Uruk” – just yet.