Amazon has announced 20 new cast members for its upcoming adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, which has started filming in New Zealand. The first two episodes will be directed by the very talent JA Bayona (A Monster Calls, The Impossible). The show is a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring.
Those cast members are (deep breath): Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Tristan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.
Those who immediately stand out are Peter Mullan, the Scottish actor seen in Westworld and Netflix’s Cursed, well-known British comedian Lenny Henry and Benjamin Walker, who played the titular president in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Previous cast members announced for the show are 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.
No release date for the show has been set yet, but Amazon acquired the rights to the series all the way back in November 2017. So it’s been a long time coming. The series’ showrunners are JD Payne and Patrick Mackay, who have writing credits on the third modern Star Trek movie, 2016’s Beyond.
Amazon’s big bets
After a few years of making more esoteric dramas like Mozart in the Jungle and The Romanoffs, it’s seemingly found its form in making big crowd-pleasing hits like Jack Ryan and The Boys. The Lord of the Rings and the already-confirmed Fallout TV show feel like big moves in that direction, too.
Increasingly, it seems like this is the way to stand out in a crowded streaming marketplace, as The Mandalorian and the upcoming Disney Plus volley of MCU shows suggest.