Where were you the first time you watched The Lord of the Rings for the very first time? Were you in a movie theater? A drive-in? Did you rent a VHS/DVD from Blockbuster and watch it with your friends as a youngster? It goes without saying that The Lord of the Rings is one of the best film franchises to come out of the 2000s, and if you were around to experience the joy in real-time, it's holds a special place in your heart much like Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, and plenty more awesome movies from that era. Perhaps you are interested in rewatching for nostalgic reasons. Or maybe you're planning on checking out The Rings of Power series as we're apparently getting closer to a premiere date for season 2. Maybe the time has come in your life to pass these brilliant films down to the younger generation because us millennials are now considered the "OGs." Or you could be anxiously awaiting The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim animated film that's due out around Christmas 2024. Whatever category you fall into, we've put together a guide on how to watch The Lord of the Rings films in chronological order.
'The Lord of Rings' Movies in Order: How to Watch the Films Chronologically
The Trilogy, the Hobbit, and Rings of Power
How many Lord of the Rings movies are there?
All-in-all, there's a total of six Lord of the Rings that take place within the J.R.R. Tolken realm of things so to speak. Those six are divided into three Lord of the Rings films: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The remaining three films are the three Hobbit movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).
When does Rings of Power take place?
You may be wondering where Rings of Power fits into this timeline if you've started watching or plan to watch in the future. According to a 2022 Washington Post interview done with the show's executive producer Lindsey Weber, Rings of Power takes place in the Second Age, which is thousands of years before the events of the Third Age. In that interview, Weber told the Post: "The rings of power takes place in the Second Age, which is thousands of years before the events of the Third Age, which most people know — Frodo and Bilbo and all of that. Tolkien wrote over 9,000 years of history. This is long before. So if you think about — just to contextualize what 3,000 years means, it’s like comparing the present day to ancient Rome. It’s a very different time for the people of Middle-earth in the Second Age."
Furthermore, in an August 2022 interview done with Collider, director J. A. Bayona further spoke on the timeline telling the publication: "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.I went back to the books, I read them again, and everything is in there. 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 Lord of the Rings Movies in Release Order:
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - December 19, 2001
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - December 18, 2002
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - December 17, 2003
The Hobbit Movies in Release Order:
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - December 6, 2012
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - December 13, 2013
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - December 4, 2014
All of the Lord of the Rings Movies in Chronological Order:
Alrighty, so we're all used to this by now right? With so many prequels, universes, etc., coming into the mix, even if you saw a film when it first came out in the 1990s, 2000s, or whatever decade you speak of, that doesn't mean you "saw it in order" nowadays. The same is true when it comes to The Lord of the Rings—those three consecutive films that came out in the 2000s are no longer "in order" with the addition of the Hobbit series. In the 2020s, this is currently how you watch The Lord of the Rings in chronological order.
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)STREAM NOW ON PRIME
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)STREAM NOW ON PRIME
3. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)STREAM NOW ON PRIME
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)SHOP NOW AT PRIME
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)STREAM NOW ON PRIME
6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)STREAM NOW ON PRIME
When is Rings of Power season 2?
Now you might be wondering when you can expect Rings of Power season 2. At the moment, we still don't have a concrete premiere date, but according to The Economic Times, filming for season 2 has been done since July 2023, and it will be another eight episode run. That's all we know for now, but we will be sure to keep you posted on any additional details in the weeks and months as we find out more information.
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