Amazon's Lord of the Rings show release date set for September 2022

Amazon Lord of the Rings
(Image credit: Amazon)

The seemingly fablbed Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show finally has a release date: September 2, 2022, according to an official tweet.

The tweet didn't just have a date– it included a single still frame from the show, of a figure in white on a green hill overlooking a grand white city and, in the background, a sunset illuminating two colossal trees. Tolkien nerds, start your engines. 

While it’s disappointing to hear we’ll have to wait another year for the Lord of the Rings show to air, it fits the timeline we’ve formed from rumors and tips – just last month, series star Benjamin Walker noted that they were still filming at the time. Given the quality of CGI used in the screenshot above, and the reported $465 million budget for the first season alone, it makes sense that Amazon would need months to a year to digitally build in a world worthy of Middle-earth. 

Analysis: Now that’s what I’m Tolkien about

Thanks to the synopsis released back in January, we know that Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show will cover the Second Age of Middle-earth when “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.”

That villain is Sauron, of course, and we’re expecting the show to explore how ‘The Deceiver’ took up the mantle of his old boss Morgoth (enemy of Middle-earth’s First Age) to first oppose the greatest force in the mortal world – the Atlantis-like human kingdom of Númenor – and then be taken prisoner, only to corrupt it from within. 

That’s a bit of a spoiler, though mankind’s paradise-like fall from grace has been in the pages of the Bible-like Silmarillion since it was first published in 1977 – and we see the fallout from this conflict in the opening scenes of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring, when the Last Alliance of Elves and Men bring down Sauron and end the Second Age. 

Back to the new tweet: is this Númenor? Possibly – the structures certainly have the white stone and rounded dome look of Gondor as depicted in Jackson’s trilogy. 

But it's probably not the case, because, more tellingly, the two trees in the distance can only be Telperion and Laurelin, the silver and gold trees in the heaven-esque Valinor that lit the world – and were felled in the early days by Morgoth. Thus, it's probable, as this Reddit thread discusses, that the scene in the tweet takes place in some sort of flashback or prologue, before the dying trees produced a fruit and a flower that would become the Sun and Moon to light the First Age. 

The white figure, who gazes on the city and the trees? Given that they seem to be staring at the two trees, it could be the dread god Morgoth, given how he craved the trees' light. It could be Fëanor, mightiest of the elves who captured their light in the priceless yet doom-laden Silmaril gems that give the Silmarillion its name.

Or, ahem, it could be someone else entirely. But until we get more official news and footage from Amazon, we’re left to speculate on what’s to come in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.