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The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien covered thousands of years of Middle-earth history. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place in Tolkien’s Second Age, which is thousands of years before The Hobbit, but still thousands of years after the First Age. Still, producer Lindsey Weber doesn’t consider her series a prequel.

'Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' prequel -- Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) stands on the battlefield in red
Morfydd Clark | Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

Weber was a guest on Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast on Sept. 2, the day The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered on Prime Video. When co-host Anthony D’Alessandro referred to the show as a prequel, Weber corrected him. New episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiere Thursday at midnight on Prime Video. 

Is ‘The Rings of Power’ a ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel?

Weber distinguished a prequel that feeds into a previous entry from what The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is doing. She considers the show a standalone story that just happens to take place prior.

“The first thing I would say is that we don’t really think of it as a prequel, though it is before,” Weber said on Hero Nation. “Something about the word prequel seems to suggest you need to know what comes later to appreciate it. It’s sort of like an appendage to a pre-existing thing and we don’t feel that way about this.”

To be fair, The Rings of Power does deal with Sauron, orcs and the forging of the Rings of Power, one of which will be The One Ring. What happens in The Rings of Power is expected to pay off in the Tolkien stories. But Weber is correct that you don’t need to have read or seen them to know about those things. 

‘The Rings of Power’ does not depend on seeing or reading ‘The Lord of the Rings’

The important distinction to Weber is that anyone can watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. In fact, she hopes a lot of people discover Tolkien because of the show. 


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“This is a story that you can appreciate,” Weber said. “If you’ve not read the books, if you’ve not seen the movies, there is an on-ramp for you. This could be your first introduction to Middle-earth and we would be honored if it does become that for people and it winds up turning people on to read the books. It would be a thrill for us.”

There’s still tons of Tolkien in it 

While The Rings of Power is not based on a book Tolkien wrote, it is filled with Tolkien. Creators JD Payne and Patrick McKay scoured Tolkien’s appendices and The Silmarillion for hints of backstory on which they could extrapolate.

There are clues that Tolkien left us, the Appendices outlined things quite a bit. And there are other clues left in other writings, a song here, a note there, things mentioned in the letter. One of the big helps was that we worked very closely with the Tolkien Estate which includes Harper Collins and New Line and Tolkien’s family. Additionally with Simon Tolkien who worked as a consultant on the series. He volunteered his time as a consultant on the series to help us with some of these questions. So it was a great reassurance to know we could phone a friend and ask certain things when they were ambiguous in the legendarium and make certain adjustments with their blessing so that we could be as true to what Tolkien wrote as possible. 

Lindsey Weber, Hero Nation, 9/2/22