Everything We Know About Amazon’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ TV Series

The Lord of the Rings

The Middle-earth Cinematic Universe has over 48-hours of JRR Tolkien content and now, a TV series of The Lord of the Rings is coming to Amazon Prime.

The show is already underway in New Zealand and is the biggest production in the world to resume filming post the coronavirus lockdown.

It will also beat Game of Thrones and The Crown, as the most expensive TV show in history.

Tolkien fans have been waiting for news of the series since it was announced in 2014, so the fact it is underway is very exciting. In fact, fans can rejoice because the series has already been given a second season, without the first even being completed.

So, what do we already know about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series?

What is the plot?

According to Deadline, the series is set in Middle-earth and will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. 

During San Diego’s virtual Comic-con, it was revealed that three major characters from The Lord of the Rings movies and novels will appear in the new show.

According to the news, Sauron, Galadriel and Elrond will all take appear and will play a major role in the early wars of the ring.

Who is in the cast?

In the original films, Sauron was played by both Sala Baker (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), while Galadriel was played by Cate Blanchett and Elrond by Hugo Weaving.

As the film is set earlier, Amazon confirmed that none of the originals was returning to the series, and 15 new names had joined the cast.

Australian actor Markella Kavenagh (Romper Stomper) has joined the cast as the show’s female lead, Tyra alongside Robert Aramayo — who played Young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, Morfydd Clark (Dark Materials) and Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones).

Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Ema Horvath, Tyrone Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman have also signed on to appear.

In an appearance on the Graham Norton Show, when asked if he would be reprising his role as Gandalf, Sir Ian McKellen — who played the role in the three Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit trilogy said: “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.”

On December 4, 20 new actors joined the cast. According to Vanity Fair, no character names were revealed, however, new performers Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Power), Maxim Baldry (Years and Years), 18-year-old newcomer Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman (Top of the Lake), and stand-up comedian Anthony Crum are set to star.

Other new cast members include Maxine Cunliffe (Power Rangers Megaforce), Trystan Gravelle (The Terror), comic actor Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch), Thusitha Jayasundera (Midsomer Murders), Fabian McCallum (You, Me & the Apocalypse), Simon Merrells (Knightfall), and Geoff Morrell (also from Top of the Lake) alongside Peter Mullan (Ozark), Lloyd Owen (Apollo 18), Augustus Prew (Pure Genius), Peter Tait (Return of the King), Alex Tarrant (Filthy Rich), Leon Wadham (Under the Mountain), Benjamin Walker (Jessica Jones), and Sara Zwangobani (Disgrace).

The setting

The series will take place in the Second Age and was revealed on the official Twitter of the new show.

Alongside the caption, an image of the island of Númenor — home to Aragorn’s (played by Viggo Mortensen) people, the Númenoreans was posted. While we don’t have a definitive answer, it seems as though the show will be set here.

In Tolkien’s The Second Age, the plotline covers the creation of the Rings of Power and Ringwraiths by Sauron who is defeated by Galadriel and Elrond.

In an interview with  Deutsche Tolkien, scholar Tom Shippey said that Amazon had no choice in the setting.

“The Tolkien estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenórean expedition, is returning to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenóreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same.

“But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions, like: What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions by inventing the answers, since Tolkien did not describe it. But it must not contradict anything which Tolkien did say. That’s what Amazon has to watch out for. It must be canonical, it is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created. It is necessary to remain ‘Tolkienian’.”

Will Peter Jackson be involved?

The director of the trilogy films and the Hobbit series will not be involved in the TV adaptation.

At at a New York Comic Con panel last year that he’s “kind of looking forward to” being a consumer instead.

“I was a guy who didn’t get to see the Lord of the Rings like everybody else because I had to make it,” he said on the panel. “So I’m looking forward to seeing somebody else’s take on the Tolkien world.”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona will helm of the first two episodes and will also serve as executive producer, with more details on further directors to come.

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