Amazon’s trip to Middle Earth is coming sooner than you thought.
The retail giant and streamer, owned by Jeff Bezos has already spent more than two years clearing the way for its highly anticipated Lord of the Rings live-action TV series.
Picked up in a massive $250 million global rights deal, Amazon expects the TV take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved franchise to be on the air in 2021, though a formal premiere date has not yet been determined. Season one will span eight episodes, with production starting in February 2020.
The LOTR series could wind up being the first $1 billion TV show once casting, production and VFX are completed.
First announced in November 2017, Amazon landed global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings and handed out a multiple-season commitment to the series, which will be produced in-house at Amazon Studios alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainment’s New Line Cinema. (The series was technically renewed for a second season, which is basically a formality.) Sources estimate Amazon’s mega-deal for LOTR is to be for five seasons — plus a potential spinoff. Insiders put the price tag for a whopping $250 million and believe once things like budgets, casting and visual effects are factored in, the price tag could hit $1 billion. (Yes, $1 billion for a TV show.)
Set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
THE CAST“After undertaking an extensive global search, we are delighted finally to reveal the first group of brilliant performers who will take part in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series, McKay and Payne said in a joint statement in January at TCA. “These exceptionally talented women and men are more than just our actors: they are the newest members of an ever-expanding creative family that is now working tirelessly to bring Middle-earth to life anew for fans and audiences worldwide.”
Details about which roles the cast will take on are being kept under wraps; information below is provided per sources. Additional cast members will be announced at a later date. The core cast has already had its first table read.
Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones, The King’s Man) is replacing Poulter in the cast as one of the lead roles.
Owain Arthur (Kingdom)
Nazanin Boniadi (Counterpart, Hotel Mumbai, How I Met Your Mother)
Tom Budge (The Pacific)
Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
Ismael Cruz Cordova (The Catch, Ray Donovan)
Tyroe Muhafidin (newcomer)
Sophia Nomvete (Dexter)
Megan Richards (Wanderlust)
Dylan Smith (I Am the Night)
Charlie Vickers (Medici)
Daniel Weyman (Gentleman Jack, Treadstone)
Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones) will play Oren, the central villain in the series.
Markella Kavenagh, an Australian actress whose credits include Picnic at Hanging Rock, is the female lead, playing a character named Tyra. She was the first person cast in the show.
Ema Horvath (Like.Share.Follow., Don’t Look Deeper) will be a series regular.
Morfydd Clark (His Dark Materials) will play a young Galadriel, the character portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Peter Jackson’s LOTR and The Hobbit features.
(Amazon officially confirmed all of the above cast members in January at TCA.)
Production on the series is slated to begin in 2020. The series will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production started in September 2019, with production slated to begin in the coming months in Auckland.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett Photographs are Courtesy: AP; HBOFacebook Follow us on Twitter @HighlightHwd or @LightfootinHwd