Back in 2017, Amazon paid a massive $250 million for the rights for The Lord of the Rings with ambitious plans to turn the seminal work of J.R.R Tolkien into a lavish five-season TV series. Production on the costly series started early last year in New Zealand, but the pandemic forced filming to go on hiatus. The first two episodes are helmed by J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom), and production wrapped on those episodes back in December. As filming continues under the watchful eyes of showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, the first synopsis for the series has been released via TheOneRing.Net

"Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone."

We already knew that the series would be set thousands of years before Frodo and Gandalf went on a quest to return some unwanted jewellery. Set during the second age of Middle-Earth, there's only one big bad who wants "to cover all the world in darkness", and the series will chart Sauron's first rise to power. No expense has been spared on the series with each season costing an estimated $150 million apiece, which makes The Lord of the Rings the most expensive Amazon original to date. Initially, the first season was due to land on Amazon later this year, but it remains unclear if that is still the plan.