Amazon has revealed that the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series will be set during the 3,441-year period before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. In the JRR Tolkien timeline, this is known as the Age of Númenor, or the Second Age.
The streaming service has been teasing the series in recent weeks with the launch of its social channels. In February, they shared a relatively blank interactive map of Middle Earth, which has now been assigned further detail. It suggests that the Isle of Númenor – a lost civilisation that Tolkien reportedly intended to be an allusion to Atlantis – will play an important role.
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3,441 years is quite a long time, so it’s not totally clear what part of the already established Tolkien lore we’ll be seeing. The rise of big bad ring-thief Sauron and the formation of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men takes place at the tail end of the Second Age, but there’s a whole lot of stuff that went on before that, which could be covered instead.
According to iO9, the show’s writing team may decide to “chronicle the downfall of the fabled civilisation of Man that Aragorn’s bloodline was descended from” – which would explain why it was originally rumoured that Aragorn’s past would play a part in the series.
The news seems to confirm, however, that none of the characters we know and love from the original trilogy will make an appearance, as they were all born in the Third Age (apart from Gandalf, who existed in spirit form long before the Second Age, but only became human Gandalf a thousand years into the Third Age).
So, yep, that’s about three and a half thousand years worth of speculation as to what will go down in the series… Good thing we’ve got another couple of years until it’s released.