When it comes to much-buzzed-about TV series, Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has to be an all-timer. Coming off six Peter Jackson movies over the last 20 years, this series chronicles the original rings of power that clouded hearts and started epic wars. Showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay, along with executive producer and director JA Bayona, have had an incredible challenge bringing this work to the small screen. That's why they know preparation is the key to success. 

Aside from that, there are also huge shoes to fill. Jackson's movies left such an impression, that no matter what they do, they will always be compared to him. 

McKay recently told Empire Magazine, “Anyone approaching Lord of the Rings on screen would be wrong not to think about how wonderfully right [Jackson] got so much of it. But we’re admirers from afar, that’s it. The Rings of Power doesn’t try to compete with him.”

This kind of admiration comes not only in story but in visuals. Payne elaborated on the prep that's taken place with a five-season commitment from Amazon for the show. He said they have even gone over shots that not only occur at the start of the series, which premieres this year, but the shots that end the five-season run. 

“We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be. The rights that Amazon bought were for a 50-hour show. They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas—this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until season five.” 

That sounds like a huge job for everyone involved. Knowing the shot you end on, as well as the reveals along the way, can make things easier on what has to be a VFX-heavy show.

You can keep some costs lower if you are willing to really plan your shots and know how they mesh together over time. This is a little bit of editing even before the cameras roll. 

So how do they know they're on the right track? Some of it is following their heart, and some is following their inner Tolkien. 

Payne said, “It was like Tolkien put some stars in the sky and let us make out the constellations. In his letters [particularly in one to his publisher], Tolkien talked about wanting to leave behind a mythology that 'left scope for other minds and hands, wielding the tools of paint, music and drama.' We’re doing what Tolkien wanted. As long as we felt like every invention of ours was true to his essence, we knew we were on the right track.”

This sounds like such a fun show, and it's going to be so interesting to see how it comes together. And now I can't help but anticipate where it's going during season one... and how it ends in season five.