While seemingly countless other shows halt production amidst the current writers strike, it has been reported by Variety that Amazon Prime Video‘s Lord Of The Rings: Rings of Power will remain in production, with 19 days of filming remaining. The show’s executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay however, will not be present on set. The producers will not continue to work on the upcoming season on account of the Writers Guild of America‘s strike rules, which disallow writer-producers from partaking in writing-based roles for the duration of the strike. The non-writing producers and directors will instead be helming the show for the remaining length of filming, responsible for any creative decisions made on set in the absence of the showrunners.
The show makes the unenviable decision to move forward with work on its second season as the WGA made the decision this week to go on strike following the failure of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to renegotiate on many of the WGA‘s proposed changes. Such proposals included fairer pay and insurance, as well as protection for writers against the use of AI tools, in order to ensure stability in the profession. Rings of Power‘s decision to continue with production follows recent reports that season 2 of HBO‘s Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon would also continue to film, with both productions currently underway in the UK.
The WGA previously went on strike in 2007 for a duration of 100 days, concluding in 2008, during which many shows and movies faced similar decisions as to whether to delay or cancel productions, or to continue to move ahead regardless. A notable example of a show which made the decision to continue production is the once-great superhero show Heroes, which with its first season garnered wide critical acclaim. However, as season 2 released following a strike-impacted production (consisting of 11 episodes, 13 less than its predecessor), the season saw a sharp decline in quality and ratings — fans of Rings of Power and House of the Dragon alike will likely be hoping that these shows do not share a similar fate.
Furthermore, with Rings of Power struggling to retain its viewership for the length of its first season, seeing only 37 percent of its premiere’s 25 million viewership make it through the show’s finale, Amazon surely would have been hoping to do all they could to ensure Season 2 a return to its peak – especially considering the cost of the show. The first season was estimated to cost around a staggering $462 million, with the studio prepared to spend over $1 billion on future seasons.
Filming of the second season of Lord Of The Rings: Rings of Power began on October 3 of 2022, with production on the eight episode series moving to the UK from New Zealand. While no official release date for the upcoming season has been release yet, fans can hope to see it return in 2024.