Major spoilers ahead for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is set thousands of years before the events of the Peter Jackson trilogies "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit." Despite that, there are characters that the films and the series have in common, like Galadriel (Morfydd Clark in the series, Cate Blanchett in the films), and locations like Mordor … well, at least by the end of season 1. While the films were distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the Prime Video series uses supplemental material from author J.R.R. Tolkien.

The differences in what material could be used for each was a dilemma because while these projects are telling different stories, they're set in the same world, and audiences are very familiar with the imagery from the trilogies. We know what elves, dwarves, orcs, and hobbits look like, and we've seen some of the elven lands. We, as an audience, know a whole lot, and that meant that showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay had their work cut out for them. So did J.A. Bayona ("The Impossible"), who directed the first two episodes.

Back in August 2022, before the series premiered, Bayona spoke to Collider about the work Peter Jackson did on the films, how he used them for inspiration, and what he took from the Tolkien books themselves.

'Capturing Tolkien's Spirit'

Collider asked J.A. Bayona about how much he looked to the films for inspiration and how he differentiated his work from what was already out there. Bayona mentioned that there was something specific that he admired in Peter Jackson's work on the trilogies that helped him along. He says:

"You know what, when I think about the Peter Jackson movies, the thing I love and the thing that I admire the most is how great he was in capturing Tolkien's spirit. So at the end, it's all about going to the source material and go to the books. So this is what I did."

Bayona said he went back and read the books again and that "everything is there." That was the inspiration for him. He explains:

"You can tell how cinematic Tolkien was when, the way he portrays the landscape reflects the mood of the characters. That's the kind of style that I love. When I shoot a movie, I try all the time to enhance the story with visual elements and that sense of beauty."

The Prime Video series does feel like the books, as much as Jackson's does, though they're not quite the same. You get a similar feel, from the costumes to the landscapes. Shooting in New Zealand helped give a sense of this being the same world as well, with the same sweeping vistas and a sort of sense of a different world … if you live outside of New Zealand, that is.

In re-reading the books, it's clear that Bayona had a lot to work with. From my own experience, seeing what Jackson put up on the big screen felt like seeing my imagination come to life. It's no different with the series, and that comes from what was originally on the page.

'You Will See Them In A Very Different Way'

All of the sets of "The Rings of Power" have the right "feel" to them, even if they never appeared in "The Lord of the Rings" or "The Hobbit" movies. Look at the design of Númenor, for instance. The island nation was long gone before the events of the films, but you look at the streets, the costumes, and the ships, and it just feels like the world of Middle-earth (even though Númenor isn't in Middle-earth proper). J.A. Bayona relied on his cinematographer's (Óscar Faura) sense of beauty as well. He says:

"I knew that the cinematographer I always work with was perfect because he loves beauty as much as you can see when you read Tolkien's books. And from the moment you choose the cinematographer, that you are defining the style of the show.

"So basically, it was going back to the, to the books and try to understand them and how they will translate visually. And exactly, as you said, it's a very different time period. So you really need to go back to those places, but you will see them in a very different way."

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is currently streaming on Prime Video.

Read this next: Every Main Character In Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power, Ranked Worst To Best

The post What The Rings Of Power's Director Admired Most About Peter Jacksons' Lord Of The Rings Films appeared first on /Film.