Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV show will take place in the Second Age, 3000 years before the films, which should settle any lingering debates about the series centering on a younger version of Aragorn. Since the show was announced, there's been plenty of discussion regarding where and when the series will take place, and which Lord of the Rings characters could make an appearance.
Toward the end of 2017, it was announced that a TV series based on J.R.R. Tolkien's series of novels was moving forward at Amazon Studios with a multi-season commitment. The show has a proposed budget of $500 million, which would make it the most expensive TV series ever made. No details have been released on the characters featured in the show, though it was originally reported that the series would be set prior to the events of the first book in the series, Fellowship of the Ring.
Amazon has officially confirmed via Twitter that the TV show will be set in the Second Age, whereas the books are set in the Third Age. Another tweet includes the line "One Ring to rule them all," which could indicate that the series will explore some of the other, less powerful Rings that exist in Middle-earth.
Welcome to the Second Age: https://t.co/Tamd0oRgTw— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) March 7, 2019
The Second Age and the Third Age are 3000 years apart. The significant time gap means that the show will focus on a completely different cast of characters. While people of Middle-earth are unusually long-lived, such as Gandalf who lived for 2000 years, it's not likely the series will feature many - if any - familiar faces.
The Second Age was an important time in the history of Middle-earth. It was during the Second Age that the civilization of Númenor thrived. The island of Númenor is commonly compared to Atlantis, as the ancient society, which crumbled near the end of the Second Age, was eventually viewed as a fabled lost civilization. Númenor is featured on Amazon's Middle-earth map, which at least leaves open the possibility that the series will visit the island.
Setting the show in a completely different era will allow the series to showcase a much different side of Middle-earth than what fans have seen before. Fans of the books and the films, and even former members of the cast and crew, have expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of revisiting the books and existing characters whose stories have already been told, so exploring the Second Age and introducing new characters could be the best direction for the show to take.