The upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series at Amazon picked up a director this week. J.A. Bayona will direct at least two of the upcoming episodes for Amazon and will serve as an executive producer with Belén Atienza.

Bayona’s most recent project was the blockbuster “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” That film opened at the top of the box office in 2018, making over $417.7M domestically and over $1.3B worldwide. Bayona also directed the thriller “The Orphanage,” and “The Impossible” starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland. In television, Bayona directed two episodes of the Showtime hit “Penny Dreadful.” JD Payne and Patrick McKay are writing the series, and Bryan Cogman is serving as a consultant.

The new series is from Amazon Studios and takes place sometime during the Second Age. The Second Age begins with the creation of the island of Númenor, and takes place after the story of the Silmarils. Right now, it’s unclear if Amazon will also include events preceding the Second Age in the new show.

The Second Age itself takes place long before the events of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” series with Frodo and Sam. During the Second Age, Sauron rises to power, and the fabled rings of power are crafted. The Second Age ends when Isildur, father of Aragon, cut the ring of power from Sauron’s hand at the battle of Barad-dûr. The Third Age begins with Isildur becoming king of Gondor and Arnor.

You have plenty of time to read ‘The Silmarillion’ before the show stars. The collection of works covers the First Age through the Second Age in outstanding detail. The books ‘The Children of Húrin,’ ‘Beren and Lúthien,’ and ‘The Fall of Gondolin,’ expands on the stories told within ‘The Silmarillion,’ so you want to read that first.

You can also preview the Reader’s Guide to The Silmarillion, to get you started.

The movies, which take place in the Third Age, were all blockbusters. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” was the first to release in 2001 and made over $871.5M worldwide. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” debuted in 2002 and made $926M globally, followed by “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” which made $1.11B worldwide. The popularity of the franchise pushed the studio to release “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 2012, which made $1B worldwide, followed by “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in 2013 which made $958M. The final installment to the trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” made $956M globally.

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