Thursday, 3 December 2020

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE SECOND AGE adds nineteen new castmembers

Amazon Prime have announced nineteen new actors for it's upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel TV series. They have not, so far, confirmed what characters these actors will be playing.

The new castmembers are as follows:
  • Cynthia Addai-Robinson
  • Ian Blackburn
  • Kip Chapman
  • Anthony Crum
  • Maxine Cunliffe
  • Trystan Gravelle
  • Sir Lenny Henry
  • Thusitha Jayasundera
  • Fabian McCallum
  • Simon Merrells
  • Geoff Morrell
  • Peter Mullan
  • Lloyd Owen
  • Augustus Prew
  • Peter Tait
  • Alex Tarrant
  • Leon Wadham
  • Benjamin Walker
  • Sara Zwangobani
Arguably the highest-profile of the new casting is that of British actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry, who has some form in fantasy. In 1996 he worked with Neil Gaiman to create the television series Neverwhere (later adapted by Gaiman into a novel) for the BBC.

Amazon also confirmed a previous actor that had only been rumoured, Maxim Baldry (who previously played the young Caeserion in HBO's Rome). Baldry's casting was widely reported in October 2019, so it's unclear why they waited so long before confirming him.

Previously confirmed castmembers comprise Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Simon Merrells, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman.

Lord of the Rings: The Second Age (likely not the actual title) will be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, circa 5,000 years before the events of the original novel and movie trilogy. The series will focus on the rise of the island kingdom of Numenor (from which Aragorn is distantly descended) and, most likely, the forging of the Rings of Power. It has been reported but unconfirmed that immortal characters from the later books and films such as Sauron, Elrond and Galadriel will appear, along with a large number of new characters created especially for the series.

The series is drawing on material from J.R.R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and Unfinished Tales, with the permission of the Tolkien Estate, to flesh out the time period, but there are relatively few, detailed stories or accounts of the Second Age, giving the Amazon team some flexibility in how they portray events.

Production of the series is now firmly underway in Auckland, New Zealand, having avoided COVID-related delays due to the country's success in suppressing the pandemic (a planned four-month hiatus in shooting over the summer almost coincided with the country's only lockdown anyway). According to some reports, the first two seasons will shoot back-to-back, with the hope that the eight-episode first season will get on air in late 2021. With a reported budget of $150 million, the first season of this series could become the biggest-budgeted television season of all time for an ongoing show (with only a few mini-series outstripping it).

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