J.R.R. Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey is one of the excellent minds working on Amazon’s mammoth Lord of the Rings series. He’s been doing a bit of press recently, about what to expect and whatnot and during one of these interviews, he revealed the supposed episode count of season 1.

I don’t know about you lot but I was expecting 10, maybe 12 episodes at the most. 20 is unreal. This hasn’t been confirmed by Amazon though so I wouldn’t completely lock in this number.

As first reported by /Film, Shippey said “there are supposed to be 20 episodes for the first season”, and confirmed the team have not started filming yet.

Shippey also revealed Amazon only has access to the Second Age, so the First and Third ages are “off-limits.”

“Events could be mentioned at the most if they explain the events of the Second Age. But if it is not described or mentioned in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ or in the appendices, they probably cannot use it,” he said. “So the question is to what extent they may hint at events that took place, for example, in the First Age, but still continue to affect the Second Age.”

If you’re not across all the details yet, Star Trek 4 writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay were hired a year ago as showrunners. They don’t have any previous experience as showrunners, but they are currently surrounded by industry veterans so I’m cautiously hopeful.

Gennifer Hutchinson (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad), Helen Shang (13 Reasons Why, Hannibal), Jason Cahill (Halt and Catch Fire, The Sopranos, ERJustin Doble (Stranger Things, Fringe), Stephany Folson (Toy Story 4), and Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) are all on the writing team with Glenise Mullins as a consultant writer.

J.A. Bayona, director of The Impossible, The Orphanage, A Monster Calls, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will helm episodes 1 and 2.

Belén Atienza, who worked with Bayona on all of those four titles, will executive producer. As will Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Leftovers), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire, Westworld, and The Pacific), and Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane, Star Trek Beyond).

Amazon has hired Ron Ames (The Aviator, The Departed, Star Trek Into Darkness, Avengers: Age of Ultron) as co-producer. Kate Hawley (Crimson Peak, Edge of Tomorrow, and Suicide Squad) will design costume and Academy Award winner Ricky Heinrichs will serve as the production designer. He has worked on Sleepy Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

Fellow Academy Award winner Jason Smith (The Avengers, Super 8, The Revenant) is the series’ visual effects supervisor. And lastly John Howe, of the original Lord of the Rings film trilogy, will return as the illustrator / concept artist.

Alternatively, you can watch the official announcement video.

Image: Lord of the Rings