LOS ANGELES   -   Stanley Kubrick once famously said J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy of novels was unfilmable. It is hard to imagine what the great director would have made of Amazon’s $1 bil­lion gamble on “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” a 50-hour television series based on the dry historical footnotes pub­lished at the end of book three. The show, out Friday globally on Prime Video, aims to tap into the huge and enduring appeal of books still regularly voted the world’s best-loved novels of all time, as well as Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning film adaptations. It is central to Amazon’s bid to stand out in the “streaming wars” with Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max -- whose own “Game of Thrones” prequel just launched -- and is bankrolled by multi-billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, a Tolkien mega-fan. But popu­lated by heroes and villains who are barely -- if at all -- referenced in Tolkien’s trilogy and its “Ap­pendices” of fictional mythol­ogy, and featuring a largely un­known cast and creators, there is no doubting the scale of the gamble. “It is quite nerve wrack­ing -- we’re building something from the ground up that’s never been seen before,” said Sophia Nomvete, who plays Princess Disa, the first female and first Black dwarf depicted on screen in Tolkien’s world. “There’s defi­nitely a few nerves. We want to get it right,” she told AFP at the Comic-Con fan event last month. “The Rings of Power” is set in Tolkien’s “Second Age” -- a pe­riod of history in his fictional Middle Earth world thousands of years before the events of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” So while a handful of characters from Jackson’s films reappear in Amazon’s show -- mostly younger versions of elves such as Galadriel and El­rond, who are of course immor­tal -- there is no Frodo, Gollum or Aragorn in sight. Most char­acters from Tolkien lore are ap­pearing on screen for the first time, and some have even been created entirely from scratch for the show. “Tolkien hasn’t re­ally written much about who he is as a person,” said Maxim Bald­ry, whose character Isildur was briefly seen fighting the evil lord Sauron in a flashback at the start of Jackson’s trilogy. Here, Baldry plays a younger version of the tragic hero, struggling with the death of his mother, over-bearing pressure from his father, and a romantic yearning for adventure. “What a gift, firstly, to explore someone’s beginnings, finding their true colors, understanding who they really are,” said Baldry.