The orcs shown in the images released for Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel look a little different than in other parts of the franchise, but the designs themselves are particularly good. The Ring of Power takes place during the Second Age of Middle-Earth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The show will focus on the ascent of Sauron, the forging of the famous rings, the fall of Numenor, also known as the Western, and the last loyalty between elves and humans. Orcs are former elves corrupted by dark magic and torture, who during the Peter Jackson trilogy were prepared by Sauron for battle. Therefore, they were built to be stronger than the Orcs of previous centuries. Images of the Orcs of the Ring of Forces show that they are just as ferocious, but look more agile and wild because of their physique and clothing.
Due to their high reproduction rate and loyalty to Sauron, orcs can be massively used as reliable soldiers and workers. However, since the Rings of Power will be focused on Sauron before he officially becomes the Dark Lord he is in The Lord of the Rings, orcs will not yet be used in the same capacity. At the same time, the Ring of Power has a unique opportunity to develop the knowledge of the Orcs and make them more interesting. Watching orcs in another era of Middle-Earth reveals their history. In addition, since they are at a different stage of their development, the Orcs can denigrate the characters in the Rings of Power in a new way.
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Executive producer Lindsey Weber explained why the orcs in Rings of Power look different, stating that the Orcs are “part of a wilder, rougher Second Age of Middle-Earth” who are “not yet organized into armies.” Looking at the Orcs from the prequel, you can see that their ragged, jagged armor gives this a wilder and more raw Orcish appearance of that time period, creating several eye-catching designs as a result. In addition, although Weber claims that the Orcs are not yet in the army, the images of the “Ring of Power” still show that they are united in large groups. Given that Sauron won’t have as much influence on the Orcs as in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, they will most likely act against the characters of their own free will. Therefore, they can potentially be more cunning and threatening — which would make these designs even more interesting, since they can more reflect the individual characteristics of the orcs themselves.
Along with LOTR’s other changes to The Rings of Power, a new vision of orcs would be beneficial to the franchise. Tolkien talked a lot about the history of the Orcs in his numerous works about Middle-earth, but it is impossible to say how true the “Rings of Power” are to the primary sources during their revival. Of course, this does not mean that the “Rings of Power” will not respect Tolkien’s work. However, orcs definitely carry unprecedented potential in the franchise. For example, while the orcs in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogies were undoubtedly menacing villains, they were still Sauron’s pawns, who were most dangerous and threatening when acting together in huge, devastating armies. Seeing how effective it is to terrorize Orcs in smaller numbers before Sauron opens up new opportunities for the Ring of Power.
As long as “Rings of Power” avoids the “Game of Thrones” mistake and retains its character development, the show should be promising. Seeing the direction in which the Orcs are already going down, “Rings of Power” wisely recognizes the strengths they possess as a prequel show. “The Lord of the Rings” is a favorite franchise, the material of which has been created for more than half a century, so any new work should be approached with reverence. With that said, “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” can still honor the franchise by breathing new life into it, as evidenced by the great designs of the Orcs shown so far.