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Amazon has unveiled the first look at the Lord of The Rings series filmed in Auckland.
The multi-series show has revealed its title - Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power. The title teases that the show will draw from the major events of Tolkien's Second Age.
The teaser follows Amazon's announcement in 2021 that it would be relocating production for the most expensive show of all time to the United Kingdom.
"This is a title that we imagine could live on the spine of a book next to JRR Tolkien's other classics. The Rings of Power unites all the major stories of Middle-earth's Second Age: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men," showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay said.
"Until now, audiences have only seen on-screen the story of the One Ring – but before there was one, there were many… and we're excited to share the epic story of them all."
The live-action teaser shows how the title was forged in a blacksmith foundry, pouring fiery molten metal into hand-carved wooden ravines shaped to the letterforms.
Tolkien's famous Ring Verse features in a haunting voiceover:
"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."
Amazon revealed the show's synopsis in January 2021.
"This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien's pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness," Amazon reveals.
The Amazon production was estimated to cost a staggering $1.43 billion overall, and the franchise was set to be filmed entirely in Aotearoa.
But in August, Amazon announced that season two will be filmed in the UK instead.
The government quickly pulled support from the production and decided not to go ahead with part of the deal to support the LOTR series.
In a statement, Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said he was disappointed by the decision. According to Nash, the decision impacts more than 1200 people who were working on the first season of LOTR.
"Amazon Studios advised that post-production work on Season One will continue in New Zealand till June 2022. However, Season Two will be filmed in the UK as part of a strategy by the studio to expand its production space and consolidate its footprint in the UK.
"I am enormously proud of the New Zealand screen sector. The Amazon Studios decision in no way reflects the capabilities of our local film industry or the talents of the people who work in it. This is a multi-national company that has made a commercial choice."
Nash revealed that Amazon would lose the incentive it had been offered but was still eligible for a 20 per cent rebate for the work done in New Zealand.