Amazon Prime has gone above and beyond for its latest The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power announcement by casting the title in real molten metal. Touted as the most expensive television series ever made, Amazon reportedly spent US$250 million just to acquire the rights to the franchise from J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate before a single cent was spent on any other production costs. With an estimated budget of $100-150 million per episode, the total cost of the series is likely to push it beyond a record-breaking $1 billion.
Set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, at a time long before Frodo and the fellowship made their historical trek to Mount Doom, the series is expected to explore several aspects in the history of Tolkien’s expansive fantasy world including the forging of the great rings and rise of Sauron as the second Dark Lord of Middle-earth. Avid fans of the books will also recongise this as the era when Aragorn’s long-distant relatives, the men of Númenor, suffered the destruction of their island kingdom and came to establish themselves as the Dúnedain. Starring Morfydd Clark as the Elven Queen Galadriel (who was portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the Peter Jackson films), the series is being helmed by showrunners J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay.
Most recently, Amazon revealed the full title of their hotly anticipated release, dubbed The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Referencing the 20 Rings of Power forged during the Second Age, Payne and McKay have suggested “audiences have only seen on-screen the story of the One Ring – but before there was one, there were many… and we’re excited to share the epic story of them all”. Most impressively, however, the viral video clip used to relay this information to fans was not done in CGI but rather forged in a blacksmith foundry using real molten metal.
Featuring Clark’s voice-over reciting the well-known Ring Verse, the video shows fiery molten metal being poured into hand-carved wooden ravines which was captured in slow-motion video for the title reveal. As Clark’s voice reaches the line “Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die”, the metal is cooled with a splash of water hinting at the sinking of Númenor into the sea. Check out the full video below:
Given the attention to detail and amount of work it would have taken Amazon to capture this title sequence using real molten metal, fans can only expect amazing things from a television production being made on a scale like none other. While Amazon has already dipped its toe into epic fantasy with last year’s release of season one of The Wheel of Time, all eyes are on The Rings of Power as it seeks to set the bar for generations to come.
Based on a series of novels that have not only sold over 150 million copies and been translated into 38 languages, The Lord of the Rings is not so much a franchise as a cultural icon beloved by millions of fans the world over. To suggest that Amazon has an enormous amount of expectation to live up to would be putting it mildly, but if the effort being put into just the title sequence is any indication, it is a challenge they seem set to meet.
Fans will get the chance to see The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for themselves when it makes its highly anticipated debut on Friday, 2 September, with episodes releasing weekly thereafter.