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SDCC: Stephen Colbert hosts Lord Of The Rings showrunners at Comic-Con extravaganza

By the power of Arda, Colbert talks to the showrunners of Prime Video's Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power

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Stephen Colbert, co-showrunner JD Payne, co-showrunner Patrick McKay, and producer Lindsey Weber
Stephen Colbert, co-showrunner JD Payne, co-showrunner Patrick McKay, and producer Lindsey Weber
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Amazon spent nearly half a billion dollars on their new Lord Of The Rings series, and at least half of that must’ve gone into their Comic-Con panel. Led by a string accompaniment featuring series composer Bear McCreary, the panel kicked off with the music of Middle Earth to set the stage, and Late Show host Stephen Colbert on hand to speak elvish and keep things moving.

Prime Video played a room-wrapping trailer on screens all around Hall H, showing off the various peoples of Middle Earth. And all that’s before showrunner J.D. Payne taught us to say “Oh, shit” in Elvish—only to be challenged by Colbert. “Tolkien speaks the language of the soul,” said Payne. And he also speaks the language of debate.


As has been discussed at length, The Second Age is a big question mark, Colbert and showrunners Payne and Patrick McKay confirmed. This is the age of Sauron’s coming to power, the fall of Númenor, and the forging of the rings of power.

“It’s a human story. Just imagine your home, your family, your job, your cosplay costume, the things that matter most to you,” said Payne. “Then suddenly imagine all that’s about to be taken away. How far would you go into the darkness to protect them? That’s the story we’re telling.”


We’re going to be seeing what is a story very similar to the Star Wars prequel, in which the protectors of Earth totally blow it because they underestimated their enemy. But it’s still “an optimistic work of art,” said McKay. As fans of the original Jackson trilogy know, themes of friendship, collaboration, and love are cornerstones of Tolkien.

This is a huge story, much bigger than the ones we’ve seen before, because the Second Age is when the Elves are really popping. “We didn’t want to do a side-story. We wanted to find a huge Tolkienian mega entry,” said McKay.

The Second Age also offers newbies a chance to see characters and races that Tolkien never had a chance to flesh out. For McKay and Payne, they “always go back to Tolkien.”

“Go back to the book. Go back to the book,” McKay re-iterated.

Despite it being a 50-hour story, the show is sticking to the Second Age. “There’s not much room for things from the Third Age,” said McKay.


The brand-new epic, regardless of how indebted it is to Jackson’s trilogy, looks massive, with highly detailed sets, costumes, and makeup that make it all feel realistic. The sets are enormous, building full cities that “are like D.W. Griffith,” said McKay. “Not the racist parts!” he quickly clarified.

And finally, Colbert asked question that was on everyone’s lips: “Will there be Entwives?”


“Maybe you’ve seen them already,” McKay teased.

Don’t do this to us. We miss our Entwives.