Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has launched into the frontier of epic fantasies at a time when the genre couldn’t be more well-established in the film and television market. Set thousands of years before the events of the infamous LOTR trilogy, the Tolkien universe takes on a gargantuan form in the expansive Middle-earth and delves headlong into the rich history and epic war between good and evil.
However, fans of Tolkien’s creation — whether literary or the later cinematic adaptations — were let down in their expectations when the prequel series dropped at Amazon in September 2022. The studio executive now comes forward to address some of these worrying issues regarding one of its most expensive productions.
Amazon Exec Addresses Rings of Power‘s Low Reception
The Rings of Power launched amidst a high audience reception and failed to maintain the same throughout its Season 1 run at Amazon Studios. It was eventually speculated that the production was intentionally ignorant of its fanbase and their demands and as such, couldn’t deliver the projected success, despite delivering a formulaic script and spending nearly $8 million per episode. Vernon Sanders, the Studio’s executive and head of Global Television, recently commented on the matter saying,
“We set up our own study with thousands of people, among them thousands of The Lord of the Rings fans, to really have a conversation with them as each episode dropped to just understand how they were reacting. We were doing as much of a 360° comprehensive look to really understand it. And I think we got a lot of those The Lord of the Rings fans, both fans of the books and fans of the movies.”
However, despite the extensive research and study conducted prior to the series’ mainstream release at the streaming juggernaut, the results failed to match up to the fan expectations which were heightened in the interim between the last LOTR film’s release and the prequel.
Cause & Effect of The Rings of Power‘s Tanking Ratings
The Peter Jackson trilogy exposed an unwitting audience to a world guided by the unimaginable and the lack of projects that followed led to a population starved of tales from the universe that was left behind by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was only natural that fans of the novels, the trilogy, and the genre of epic fantasy, in general, would want to witness the revival of the Tolkienverse in a time where shows like Game of Thrones, its prequel, House of the Dragon, and Netflix’s The Witcher, are delivering strong competition from all angles.
Sanders claims that The Rings of Power aimed at reviving the fandom of The Lord of the Rings to not merely a long-anticipated spin-off show but one that was worth the wait. But reality deems that not all will be satisfied with the end result of a project as ambitious as this.
“We also know that there were some fans who had issues or didn’t feel like this was what they were expecting or done in the way that they expected, and that’s natural. I think whenever you take on something that’s so beloved, you’re going to have probably a strong reaction for and have some people who just aren’t on board.”
Unsurprisingly, however, all of this occurs in the aftermath of the writers’ room trashing a perfectly good storyline that originated from the mind of Tolkien himself in favor of a script that incentivized and prioritised audience shock over respecting the originality of the source material — a trend that is becoming increasingly common in popular culture.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime.