If there was one theme that reigned supreme at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) it was definitely fantasy with not one but three studios vying for the fans attention. Ultimately, in my view, Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power edged out the others. Not only was The Rings of Power featured on the Comic-Con badges but the upcoming Prime Video show had an epic Hall H panel that featured a significant portion of the cast and was hosted by Stephen Colbert and also hosted, along with TheOneRing.net, one of the best parties at the convention. There seems to be no stopping The Rings of Power train as they gear up for their September 2nd premier.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Panel
Leading up to Comic-Con lots of excitement was starting to build for the upcoming Prime Video show and the expectations for a significant push from the studio were fairly high after it was revealed that the upcoming show was featured on the Comic-Con badges. Additionally, once Comic-Con announced their panel schedule The Rings of Power ended up as the sole panel in Friday’s Hall H line-up that I wanted to attend and a very tough decision had to be made as to whether I wanted to brave the crowds to get into it or not. Logic, however won out and I decided the opportunity was too great to pass up so I joined my friends as we formed our Friday Hall H line group, most of whom were also mainly just interested in the new Lord of the Rings show. Luckily our efforts paid off and I was able to not only end up in the panel room but had a pretty decent seat in the first section which was perfect to enjoy the few hours I was going to spend in Hall H on Friday morning.
And the panel delivered by kicking off with a surprise 25-piece orchestra and 16-person choir performance, led by Emmy® award-winning composer Bear McCreary, featuring musical highlights from the series.
Once the performance was over another surprise came in the reveal of special guest host Stephen Colbert, who throughout the panel expertly flexed his Lord of the Rings knowledge to the delight of many fans. No joke I would not want to go against Mr. Colbert in a Lord of the Rings trivia contest!
The panel was also one of the largest panels I have ever been too and I later learned was in fact quite literally the largest single-series cast ensemble panel in Comic-Con history. Along with series Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and Executive Producer Lindsey Weber a total of 21 other cast members which included Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani joined the stage to discuss the show.
While not giving away too much the panel did showcase the showrunners and casts knowledge and reverence towards the Tolkein’s lore which is set during the Second Age of Middle Earth. Having avoided a lot of news around the show up to that point it was interesting for me to see the characters that will be featured in the series, some of whom I assumed would be featured but nice to have confirmation anyway from Galadriel, Elrond, Elendil, Isilsdur, Celebrimbor, and Gil-galad to Arondir, Bronwyn, Disa, Largo Brandyfoot, and Poppy Proudfellow. The room was also treated to a few clips from the series showcasing most of the cast along with a new trailer. Most people I spoke to following the panel who may have been a bit hesitant to watch were certainly won over and I am officially in for the series when it premieres on Prime Video next month.
Official Description for The Rings of Power from Prime Video:
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the
fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, 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 one of the greatest villains that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the
world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both
familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest
depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island
kingdom of Númenor, to the farthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies
that live on long after they are gone.
TheOneRing.net’s Middle-Earth Moot
Just because the Hall H panel was over did not mean the party had to stop and quite literally it did not as there was still one more event to take place – TheOneRing.net’s Middle-Earth Moot.
Tickets for this free event went up the Friday before the convention and were gone very quickly. Having wanted to have a bit more of relaxing convention I was looking forward to getting tickets to TORn’s event so I was very lucky that a friend signed me up for it as I was away from the computer when they were made available.
A perfect party for Lord of the Rings fans to meet and mingle the moot was originally only going to be sponsored by TheOneRing.net (TORn) but ended up getting a boost when Prime Video stepped in became a co-sponsor. Venue 808, where the event took place on Friday evening, was the perfect location especially as the venue features real live olive trees inside making it the picture perfect space for a Rings of Power event. The moot also featured free drinks and finger food throughout the night amidst actual costumes from the show. Having Showrunners J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay, and Executive Producer Lindsey Weber just mingling with everyone also added a really warm atmosphere to the evening. Plenty of fans and some friends, some in cosplay which was encouraged, drank and socialized the night away. Some cosplay fans even got some extra swag and prizes for dressing up.
What ultimately made the moot a truly special evening and bumped it up to one of the top events at Comic-Con especially for a group of fans was winning a golden ticket. Starting Thursday TORn began tweeting that fans who already had tickets and came to their booth had a chance to win a golden ticket. Winning a golden ticket promised an enhanced experience, though the details on what that experience was going to be was kept under wraps. In order to actually win the golden ticket fans that made it to TORn’s booth had to answer a trivia question; which ranged from Lord of the Rings lore to questions about the upcoming show itself.
Wanting an upgraded experience for myself I made it a point of getting over to the booth and happily was able to get a golden ticket on the first trivia question. Immediately upon getting a golden ticket my intuition told me something special was going to happen which were ultimately substantiated as ticket winners were treated to a surprise cast signing. A friend of mine who had not gotten a golden ticket but did cosplay for the event was awarded a cast signing spot as a prize. While the cast didn’t stick around for the evening they were very pleasant when going through the autograph line often allowing us to talk for a few seconds and get a reply and I did not feel rushed at all during that time. The cast honestly seemed very gracious of the love of the fans and had a great time with the signing.
So overall TORn’s moot which started out for me as a means to having a relaxing evening turned into a top Comic-Con memory! Serious credit needs to go to Prime Video for coming in and co-sponsoring the event but even more credit needs to go to the amazing people at TheOneRing.net who are a really nice group of people. Go check them out!