‘Lord of the Rings’ Brings Fiery Trailer — and an Orchestra — to Comic-Con

Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Releases Second Teaser Trailer

The Lord of the Rings, the property that became a founding mythology for modern geek culture, returned to San Diego Comic-Con Friday with Amazon showing off a new trailer for the mega-budget The Rings of Power TV series. The panel kicked off with composer Bear McCeary and an orchestra (including a choir) performing music from the show for Hall H’s 6,000-strong crowd.

The pageantry set the tone for emcee (and noted Tolkien fan) Stephen Colbert to take the Comic-Con crowd to Middle-earth.  The <Rings of Powerexplores during the Second Age. The series is set thousands of years before Peter Jackson’s films and centers on the rings of power that allowed the Dark Lord Sauron to spread evil across Middle-earth. Colbert noted The Second Age is one of the least-explored aspects in the Tolkien mythology. “It’s a story of loss,” said Colbert of the show, who added he was struck by the “sincerity” and “love of this world” for showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay.


Payne proved his Tolkien bona fides by speaking phrases in Elvish and went on to explain why the team decided to focus in on the Second Age and the rise of Sauron.

“If we are going to tell 50 hours of story, we want to make it worth it,” said Payne of the series. “We wanted to find a huge, Tolkien-ian mega-epic. Amazon were wonderfully crazy enough to say, ‘yes, let’s do that.’”

Payne was particularly struck by the story of the downfall of Númenor, which is akin to Tolkien’s Atlantis. “It’s deeply painful,” but noted there might be “something we can learn” from it — given that it’s the story of a society divided.

The team has been working on the series since 2018, with the creatives — including producer Lindsay Weber — pouring over Appendices Tolkien published. They sometimes expanded a few paragraphs into fully fledged characters and races, such as the harfoots — ancestors to The Hobbits.  McKayn  noted as a fan of Tolkien the team felt immense pressure to deliver. “We’ve been the fans who have been disappointed many, many times over — and we didn’t want to disappoint you guys.”

The team showed off a new trailer, which included what may be a balrog — the fiery foe that Gandalf caught in the first Jackson film. The footage had so much packed in that even noted Tolkien scholar Colbert couldn’t catch it all. Quipped the Late Show host: “I don’t know who the hell some of those people are.”


Of the expansive cities, Weber noted they built much of it.  “A huge amount of it was in camera. It was a labor of love of thousands and thousands of crewmembers,” said Weber.

The last time the world of Tolkien journeyed to Hall H was in 2014 2014 for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final installment of  Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel films. Those Hobbit films never reached the heights Jackson’s Oscar-winning original Lord of the Rings trilogy, but Amazon is betting big on its new series, which is billed as the most expensive TV show of all time, with a spend of $465 million for just season one. (A chunk of that was the cost of acquiring the rights from Tolkien’s estate.)

Amazon is betting big on The Rings of Power, with eight-episode first season debuting Sept. 2.

More to come.