Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has big shoes to fill. Peter Jackson's seminal trilogy transformed the fantasy genre on screen, leading to a wave of imitators who could rarely compete. Even Jackson himself struggled with the Hobbit trilogy unable to impress on quite the same scale as his first Tolkien adaptations.
Now comes Amazon's prequel, set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, a few thousand years before a small Hobbit cast a ring into a volcano. Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have been open about acknowledging their love for Jackson's movies, and speaking to SFX magazine in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Andor on the cover, director J.A. Bayona talks about looking to those cinematic wonders for inspiration.
"We all love what Peter Jackson did," admits Bayona, "and at the very beginning, we thought about establishing some kind of a bridge between the show and the movies. But then, as you realise the complexity of each world, you get invested in your own story. Then, unconsciously, you start to create something that has its own life.
"The bar was set very high, and I’m glad that Amazon had the ambition of going there – I tried to at least match what Peter Jackson did – but the more we were working with the characters and the story, the more we were unconsciously disconnecting from the movies."
Jackson recently spoke about the TV series, revealing that he was initially approached to work on the show, even asking to see scripts, but those pages never materialized. Amazon reasoned, similar to Bayona, that the project has become substantially distant from the movies.
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That's just a snippet of the long-read, available in the Andor issue of SFX Magazine, available on newsstands from Wednesday, August 10. For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.