The world of Middle-earth is closer than ever to coming to television thanks to Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power, but its setting in the Second Age doesn’t mean that it’ll be a prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy in the Third Age. While characters like Galadriel and Elrond have roles in the series (and appeared in the latest big trailer), they won’t the same versions as those that appeared in the movies, and the director has said that he was ghosted about the possibility of contributing to the project. Amazon has a different take on the situation.
What Peter Jackson Said About The Rings Of Power
The Lord of the Rings films were epic back when they released from 2001-2003, and have become iconic in the two decades since. The Hobbit trilogy proved that Peter Jackson could bring his Middle-earth magic touch back in time for adventures set before the Fellowship came together, so it was only natural for fans to wonder if Amazon’s The Rings of Power would have a connection to the films… or Jackson himself. Recently, Jackson was featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast (opens in new tab), and after confirming that he’ll be watching the new show, he shared:
They asked me if I wanted to be involved in it right upfront, and I said to them ‘It’s an impossible question to answer without seeing a script.’ … They said, ‘As soon as we get the first couple of scripts, we’ll send them to you to look at.’ And the scripts never showed up. [laughs] That was the last thing I heard.
Jackson went on to say that he has “no complaints at all,” and that “it’s a cause to celebrate” if anybody makes a good TV show or film since filmmaking “is hard enough.” He also shared that he’s looking forward to “actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer,” when he was never able to have the experience that so many others did when it came to watching his Lord of the Rings films. To hear Peter Jackson tell it, he was ghosted but isn't upset about it.
Amazon didn’t waste any time with a response to what Peter Jackson said about at one time thinking that he’d at least be sent the scripts for The Rings of Power. With the premiere of the show (which was rumored as far back as 2017 before the streamer made a major commitment) less than two months away, Amazon Studios made a statement to THR:
In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and The Lord of The Rings films and are thrilled that he is looking forward to watching The Rings of Power.
This statement fits with the reports from back in 2018 that Amazon was reaching out to Peter Jackson (among others) for the show, but no official announcement was ever made. Amazon’s clarification that they were “obligated” to keep the show and films separate is particularly intriguing in light of alleged sources (cited by THR) saying that the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien (who died himself back in 1973) was opposed to Jackson having any involvement in The Rings of Power. Amazon paid $250 million to that estate for the rights to make the show.
The Tolkien estate not wanting Peter Jackson involved with an adaptation wouldn’t be surprising, in light of comments made about the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Christopher Tolkien, the son of the late author, had some unflattering comments about how the films “gutted” the source material. As it stands, the upcoming series will not be set in the same universe as Jackson’s films, but the director is looking forward to seeing the new adaptation of Tolkien’s world, and he’s surely not the only one.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Friday, September 2 for viewers with an Amazon Prime subscription. If you still need some viewing options for the remaining weeks before the journey back to Middle-earth, check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule!