The fellowship of Amazon Studios’ Lord of the Rings series has grown by a whopping twenty actors, Variety has reported.
The new additions include seven natives of New Zealand, where the series will film: Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, and Leon Wadham. From various other parts of the world, Amazon has recruited Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Benjamin Walker, and Sara Zwangobani.
Amazon Studios’ ensemble already features a host of other actors, including Game of Thrones alumni Robert Aramayo and Joseph Mawle, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Sophia Nomvete, and Daniel Weyman.
Despite the presumably working title, The Lord of the Rings appears to be dealing with the Second Age of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, not a new adaptation of his classic trilogy. As detailed in his posthumous work The Silmarillion, the Rings of Power were created in the Second Age, when Sauron was more than an incorporeal magic eye and Aragorn’s ancestors came to power. Sauron’s defeat at the hands of Isildur, shown in the movies’ opening flashback, brought about the end of the Second Age.
No details have emerged on which characters this veritable host of actors will be playing at this time, but the series has the potential to span long timespans and deal with a host of cultures from Tolkien’s world. The casting follows in the footsteps of Amazon’s other epic fantasy series in production, The Wheel of Time, which also recruited relatively unknown or upcoming actors.
Executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay told Variety, “These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. The international cast of Amazon’s The ‘Lord of the Rings’ series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle-earth.”
First announced in 2017, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings will be directed—at least in part—by J.A. Bayona, with Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) onboard as a consulting producer, and cooperation from the Tolkien Estate, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema. Production was underway before the pandemic and resumed in September, with the series originally planned to arrive in 2021.