As artists, there can be a delicate balance between taking audience feedback into account versus staying laser-focused on the needs of the story above all else. Too much in one direction or the other can spell doom for any given production, leading to empty calorie entertainment that merely gives people nothing except what they want or stubborn manifestos that alienate their audiences without even realizing it. Those challenges are magnified even more with a property as popular and well-known as “The Lord of the Rings,” which the team on “The Rings of Power” were fully aware of when they got the job.
Payne goes on in the interview to describe that very same issue, assuring fans that their good-faith engagement is being taken into account … to a point. According to Payne:
“Certainly, you look at audience response, and you see what characters people love, and what kinds of storytelling moves them. I wouldn’t say we’re over-correcting for any of it, but we’re certainly listening to people’s responses.”
That’s not to say that the showrunners believe season 1 was infallible, however. Payne acknowledges that the majority of responses ended up aligning with the creative team’s own viewpoints on both strengths and weaknesses.
“Other than the extremes, which can be very loud — whether it’s people who are like love, love, love, or people who hate, hate, hate — generally, when you sift through the noise, I think we feel that people see the same show we do. And the things we love, they love. And the things we know maybe, ‘Oh, we got away with it there. We’ve got to do better next time,’ were things people called us on.”
“The Rings of Power” is currently streaming on Prime Video.