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First Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power photos tease Amazon’s epic series

This time, Galadriel’s in the middle of the action

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Vanity Fair’s first look at Lord of the Rings: The Power of the Ring: Morfydd Clark as Galadrial Photo: Ben Rothstein/Amazon Studios
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Super Bowl Sunday will see the release of the first trailer for Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. But the build up to the footage has been a somewhat appropriate journey for the franchise. A metal-cast title reveal was followed by a mysterious character posters, and now we’ve got our first look at the prequel characters in action. A young Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud), appears to be the star, if her place walking away from explosive fire without giving an eff is any indication.

With the announcement of the title, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay set expectations for their prequel series, which will chart the Second Age of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The fall 2022 series “unites all the major stories of Middle-earth’s Second Age: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord, the epic tale of Numenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Until now, audiences have only seen onscreen the story of the One Ring — but before there was one, there were many … and we’re excited to share the epic story of them all.”

And who’s involved? There are reportedly 22 main characters in the series — here are just a few of the core cast members.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power lineup looks a little familiar — but only a little. Jumping back 2,000 years means Gandalf and the hobbit crew won’t be around for this adventure. But Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett in the Peter Jackson trilogy, is back. Based on a new report from Vanity Fair, she’s hunting down the collaborators of the recently defeated first great Dark Lord, Morgoth (his apprentice, Sauron, has gone off the grid). Other characters include Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), denizen of the underground kingdom of Khazad-dûm (aka Moria); Disa (Sophia Nomvete), a dwarven princess; Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova), a newly invented elven character; and young Elrond (Robert Aramayo), who by VF’s account is “politically ambitious.”

The pre-Super Bowl feature also digs into the development of the series, from how Payne and MacKay carved out a deeper narrative from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings appendices, and some early behind-the-scenes drama that plagued the production. And while details on the what, where, why, and when of the show are still under wraps, we know a bit more about the who going into the trailer — including the promise that it isn’t Lord of the Rings without some kind of hobbit representation.

“One of the very specific things the texts say is that hobbits never did anything historic or noteworthy before the Third Age,” McKay tells Vanity Fair. “But really, does it feel like Middle-earth if you don’t have hobbits or something like hobbits in it?”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon on Sept. 2.