J.R.R. Tolkien famously said that when it came to writing Lord Of The Rings, he started with a map. Amazon, on the other hand, started with paying $250 million for the rights to the show with the promise of at least five seasons of whatever it produces. That series, which currently has a 2021 projected start date, is now readying to begin filming the first season. Much like the trilogy of films, the new Lord Of The Rings cast is enormous, with no less than 14 actors as part of the casting announcement.
A huge cast was not a given, for the record. Unlike the movies, which cover what is known in the LOTR fandom as "The Third Age," Amazon's series is rewinding the clock to a much earlier period in Middle Earth history, which has never been committed to screen.
The Second Age is glancingly covered in Tolkien's The Silmarillion, but like the early histories of Westeros, much of it is cobbled together from dialogue snatches between Elrond and Gandalf, or the famous Lord of the Rings appendices. This means the show has a few chapters to draw from here and there, mostly concerning the final years of this period, but mainly will be filling in from a loose timeline sketch.
The biggest name in the cast is Robert Aramayo, who fans will recognize instantly as Young Ned Stark from Game of Thrones. He played Beldor, a leading role in the show. Another Game of Thrones veteran joins him, Joseph Mawle, who played Ned's younger brother BenJen, has been cast as the central villain, will play Oren. They are joined by Markella Kavenagh, who starred alongside Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams in Picnic at Hanging Rock, is the female lead, Tyra. These are all assumed to be human characters.
But lest fans think there will be no one they recognize from the films, never fear. Morfydd Clark, who was recently in a different HBO fantasy series, His Dark Materials, has been cast as a young elven Galadriel, the role famously played by Cate Blanchett in both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.
As for the rest of the cast, none have characters assigned, or even if they're playing humans, elves, wizards, or dwarves. But the list includes names like Welsh actor Owain Arthur, who did a ten-year stint on the UK's long-running hospital drama Casualty. There's also Nazanin Boniadi, best known over here for How I Met Your Mother. Plus there's Australian actor Tom Budge (The Pacific), British actors Megan Richards (Wanderlust), Charlie Vickers (Medici), and Daniel Weyman (Gentleman Jack). There are also some Americans, including Ismael Cruz Cordova (Ray Donovan) and Dylan Smith (I Am the Night). Plus, there are a few new faces, like Ema Horvath, Sophia Nomvete, and Tyroe Muhafidin.
Amazon's Lord of the Rings series does not yet have a release date.