House of Dragon, Rings of Power Drama is Made, Says Producer

The battle for the streaming Iron Throne is about to begin.

Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ and HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ will air simultaneously for six consecutive weeks in what many titles and social media users have dubbed ‘the greatest battle of all. ‘history of television’.

Asked about the competition between the two shows, “Rings of Power” executive producer Lindsey Weber dismissed the idea that these stories were in conflict with each other.

“For us, we feel none of that. It’s totally fabricated by the media to make headlines,” Weber said Tuesday night during a “Rings of Power” panel discussion at Film at Lincoln Center. “I’m pretty sure the cast and crew don’t feel any of that either. They know how hard it is to make these things.

“Rings of Power” showrunners and executive producers JD Payne and Patrick McKay joined Weber in the Q&A, which was moderated by Vanity Fair reporter Anthony Breznican. McKay echoed Weber and said these two shows are very different.

“If you were an archaeologist and a gardener, it might sound similar, but they couldn’t be more different,” McKay said. “I think that’s sort of how we feel about both shows.”

Payne added: “Competition is the pressure we put on ourselves and a competition we have with ourselves to see what we can put out into the world. With a bit of luck [our series] will bring people together in a kind of cultural conversation. And to everyone working on the storytelling, we wish them the best of luck.

With an estimated budget of $465 million for the first season, “The Rings of Power” is in the running to become the most expensive television series ever made. In comparison, Variety reported in April that HBO’s “House of the Dragon” cost less than $20 million per episode to produce its 10-episode first season.

The reported figure for the eight-episode season of “Rings of Power” was first disclosed in New Zealand government documents released last year. After completing principal photography in August 2021, Amazon Studios announced that production would move from New Zealand to the UK for the second season.

Addressing the significant budget leak, Weber said these reported numbers were inflated and disputed that Amazon’s investment was well spent.

“So it’s a lot of money, however, it’s a lot less money than what was written by the New Zealand government. Thank you, New Zealand, for that,” Weber said.

Weber told the audience after a special IMAX screening of the first two episodes: “We feel like it’s money well spent if it’s on screen, and some of the storytelling that the Land of the Middle needs. Hope you see it up there.

While the estimated $465 million budget includes start-up costs, such as costume props and sets that will be used in future seasons, Amazon has spent approximately $250 million to secure worldwide television rights to “Lord rings” and presumably tens of millions more on marketing.

“We aimed to create eight hours of finely crafted, cinematic experience,” Weber said. “When you look at the budget versus the budgets of these things, it’s really the length of three blockbuster movies shot for the price of one.”

The producers revealed that the expansive story features 22 main characters, 118 speaking roles, and at least seven unique locations.

“It tells this amazing story of the forging of the rings of power, the rise of the dark lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the last alliance of elves and men,” Payne said. “We started to dive into this material and felt like it was something that could really have all the ingredients of what you needed to feel if you have a true Middle-earth epic. .”

Throughout the panel, both showrunners expressed that their story is complete on its own but weaves in familiar elements from the “Lord of the Rings” mythos. When forming the backstory of certain characters, such as the series’ main antagonist, Sauron, McKay said that their work referenced JRR Tolkien’s “Legendarium.”

“Sauron is Morgoth’s first lieutenant during the worst of the First Age,” McKay said. “Morgoth is defeated and Sauron sort of disappears for some 100 years. And Tolkien himself is silent about what he does during this time. So, in the Second Age, it can reappear in ways that are hopefully surprising and delightful, and walk away in ways you don’t expect.

Amazon Prime Video will premiere the first two episodes of “The Rings of Power” on September 2.