Based on The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, especially in its appendices, the new series is the first major adaptation of the epic fantasy since Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy.
Set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before The Hobbit, The Rings of Power chronicles the chaotic events that eventually shaped the subsequent adventures of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, such as the creation of the titular rings and the rise of the Dark Lord, Sauron.
Its premiere on Prime Video is scheduled for September 2 and a second season has already been ordered, with a production commitment of five seasons that makes it the most expensive television series of all time, with a budget of approximately one thousand millions of dollars.
Although it is set several millennia before Frodo’s perilous journey to Mount Doom, The Rings of Power will feature several familiar characters, albeit at a younger age. Among them, the elven queen Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), the elf Elrond (Robert Aramayo), and the doomed human warrior Isildur (Maxim Baldry).
Additionally, audiences will once again meet a number of different races that also appear in the Jackson trilogy, from dwarves to hobbits. However, this also includes the malevolent race known as the orcswho were instrumental in Sauron’s attempt to rule Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings.
Although orcs have been redesigned for The Rings of Powerthey have been confirmed to play as large a role in the events of the new series as they did in the original film trilogy.
Now Weber and Wilson have provided a bit more detail on how they approached the return of Sauron’s followers to the screen. Discussing the design of the orcs with IGN, the pair discuss the importance of making the creatures as realistic as possible, using only a limited amount of CGI.
Wilson even cites the fact that “the human eye is getting better and better” at recognizing when something is computer-generated and when it isn’t.
Weber: When they are close to the camera, the orcs are really almost exclusively handmade. And the places where the visual effects team helps is when we need larger quantities than you could ever muster on a film set anywhere in the world. That’s what they more or less do, when we need their magic. We did a lot of planning beforehand to know which actors would be closest to the camera, then as you get further away there were easier applications in some cases, because it was very important to us that everyone was as close to the camera as possible and felt real while we were shooting.
Wilson: We decided early on that we were going to try and make it a very real show. So we tried to use real prosthetics and everything else, and minimize the CGI, because there are hundreds of productions that have a lot of visual effects, and you can see that the human eye is getting better and better and knows what what is real and what is not, because we are so saturated with all this product that you start to know.
The choice of which orcs are almost entirely handmade, except when they are in “large quantities”, certainly reminiscent of the movies of Lord of the Rings of Jackson, who took a similar approach.
This is not surprising, since the design of The Rings of Power It has been heavily inspired by the look of the original trilogy, and is generally considered to be set in the same continuity as the films, despite some differences.
But since Jackson subsequently decided to have virtually all of the orcs in The Hobbit trilogy appear as motion capture characters/CGIthis is also a notable return to the original design choices of the race to create “a very real spectacle”.