Amazon Studios have announced today 20 brand new casting additions to their massive Lord of The Rings series which is currently shooting in Auckland, New Zealand. After a pause due to COVID-19 had resumed filming back in September.
Their massive announcement sees the additions of actors such as Lenny Henry, Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, Children of Men), Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Benjamin Walker (Heart of The Sea, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow, Power), Simon Merrells, Maxim Baldry (finally confirmed by Amazon), Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Geoff Morrell, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, and Sara Zwangobani.
They join a cast that already consists of Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman.
Amazon has yet to give an official synopsis of the series other than it will be taking place during the Second Age and covering the ancient kingdom of Numenor that did not appear in the previous two trilogies.
However, we are hearing that the Amazon series will attempt to deviate from the Peter Jackson series by potentially ignoring the established look of Middle-Earth along with redesigning both familiar creatures and the population. There is also a much more diverse cast this time around which hints this will be different enough from the past two trilogies.
It’s looking like ILM and not Weta Digital will be handling the visual effects on the show. There sadly hasn’t been even confirmation that Weta Workshop is involved either given that they’re shooting in proximity of Weta makes this even more upsetting.
Also, the series set during the Second Age is said to cover Sauron’s perversion of the advanced kingdom of Numenor (essentially J.R.R. Tolkien’s Atlantis) leading to Morgoth (Middle-Earth’s version of Lucifer and the first Dark Lord) cults and a splintering of the forces of man in the island kingdom by fueling their hatred towards the elves because of their immortality. Sauron (a Maia just like the wizards) in a much more pleasing form allows himself to be captured and taken to Numenor corrupting the population from within stoking resentment against the Elves rather than being an unseen villainous force hiding in the shadows.
We’re expecting to see the creation of the rings of power and potentially the origins of the nine Nazgul/Ringwraiths that were once men tricked by Sauron to take rings of power turning them into his unnatural servants via dark magic. Three are supposedly Numenorean Lords including the Witch King of Angmar, who is their leader and had a significant role in The Return of The King. It’s also expected we’ll see the ultimate destruction of Numenor forcing surviving inhabitants to the mainland along with the eventual Last Alliance leading to the defeat of Sauron. The latter I wouldn’t expect to happen for a very long time.
I’ll be keen to see if they’ll also attempt to purse the eastern part of Middle-Earth as that could be an equally interesting part to explore as the two Blue Wizards (Alatar/Morinehtar aka Darkness Slayer and Pallando/Rómestámo aka East Helper) operated there during the Second and Third ages, but have only been briefly referenced in the past. One of the Nazgul, Khamûl The Easterling aka Shadow of The East, is said to be a former Easterling King. We only got a glimpse of the Easterling forces in The Lord of The Rings as they were mostly made up of mercenaries or those loyal to Sauron, who had a strong presence in East along with Morgoth in the First Age.
There are also rumblings of Amazon taking a much more mature tone which wouldn’t be shocking given that director John Boorman (Excalibur, Zardoz) had once attempted a live-action film based on Lord of The Rings in the 1970s that would have included sex and hard violence for the era likely would have landed an R-rating. The Second Age is described as extremely dark in comparison to the Third Age with men’s lust for wealth/power/immortality combined with what is essentially devil worshiping cults and human sacrifices.
The streaming service has yet to announce when episodes will begin dropping on Prime Video.
SOURCE: AMAZON STUDIOS