We're finally getting a clearer picture of what Amazon's Lord of the Rings prequel series will look like, and it's poised to cover one of the most fascinating times in Tolkien lore.
The streaming service confirmed that the upcoming show will be set in the Second Age, which spans 3,441 years and features exciting events like Sauron's first rise to power. But for those hoping to see a baby-faced Aragorn cutting it up with the elves, you're out of luck. Setting the show in this time period rules out the possibility of seeing the would-be king in action, since he was born in the Third Age.
Although the prequel will take place during a time that's unfamiliar to mainstream audiences, it will contain elements familiar to even the most novice Lord of the Rings fan. A map of Middle Earth tweeted out by Amazon suggests the series will focus on the island of Númenor, which fans of Peter Jackson's trilogy will recognize as the lost city that Aragorn and others lament over throughout the big-screen films.
Depending on when exactly in the Second Age the prequel takes place, we might see a few other key events, like the downfall of that once-great city after Sauron convinced the Númenoreans to wage war against the gods who sank their land in retaliation. Plus, there's the forging of the Rings of Power, including Sauron's One Ring, Gimli's bearded ancestors drinking and partying in Khazad-dûm (which we see in ruins in The Two Towers), and the bedazzled headband-wearing Elrond (played by Hugo Weaving in Jackson's trilogy) founding the elven kingdom of Rivendell -- where Frodo, Aragorn, Legolas, and others form the Fellowship to destroy Sauron's ring once and for all thousands of years later.
While Aragorn most likely won't be featured, there's a good chance you'll get to see loads more of Elrond, whose role in the Second Age is pretty significant compared to the lethargic, stay-at-home elf we see in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. With Sauron on the rise, humans and elves were forced to forge an alliance, which led to a war that culminated with Aragorn's ancestor Isildur cutting the One Ring from Sauron's hand before taking it for himself, as depicted in the opening credits for The Fellowship of the Ring.
Elrond, who was present for that age-defining battle -- as well as Isildur's betrayal at Mount Doom, in which the human leader refused to destroy the One Ring -- offers a unique perspective for the series. His rich backstory deserves your attention.
What Jackson couldn't showcase in his films is that Second Age Elrond is the cool Elrond who rode on the front lines of the war and looked glorious while doing so. He also contained multitudes. A half-elf, half-human who chose immortality over humanity, he's dealt with his fair share of loss through his twin brother Elros, who picked the humans and wound up Númenor's first king, eventually dying of old age before Sauron rose to prominence. Elrond's strengths as a healer and apt leader with serious battle skills even made him a onetime target of Sauron, who offered to join forces. Being the unshakable hero that he is, however, Elrond promptly turned that down.
He also rolled with an impressive crew of familiar faces from Jackson's films, like Galadriel, Gandalf, and the elven overlord Gil-galad (who did, indeed, appear at the beginning of Fellowship). They formed the White Council, a meeting of powerful beings to discuss the growing threat from Mordor, as seen in the Hobbit trilogy. In addition to being freaking cool, this congregation of great minds is the perfect way to lure fans of both Tolkien's books and Jackson's big-screen films, along with people who just really enjoy staring at breathtakingly beautiful creatures in billowy, luxe robes.
Whether or not any of that will make it into the Amazon series is unclear; details about the project remain tightly under wraps. But if anyone deserves to be included, it's Elrond -- even if only for those lush headbands.