The new Lord of the Rings series is populating its Middle-earth.
Twenty new cast members have been announced by Amazon Studios for the production currently underway in New Zealand. No character names were revealed, and little is known about the story except that it is based on timelines and stories hinted at by J.R.R. Tolkien from an age long before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.
The new performers are Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Power), Maxim Baldry (Years and Years), 18-year-old newcomer Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman (Top of the Lake), and stand-up comedian Anthony Crum.
Other new cast members include Maxine Cunliffe (Power Rangers Megaforce), Trystan Gravelle (The Terror), comic actor Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch), Thusitha Jayasundera (Midsomer Murders), Fabian McCallum (You, Me & the Apocalypse), Simon Merrells (Knightfall), and Geoff Morrell (also from Top of the Lake).
Joining them will be Peter Mullan (Ozark), Lloyd Owen (Apollo 18), Augustus Prew (Pure Genius), Peter Tait (who had a small role in Peter Jackson’s Return of the King), Alex Tarrant (Filthy Rich), Leon Wadham (Under the Mountain), Benjamin Walker (Jessica Jones), and Sara Zwangobani (Disgrace).
They’re joining a number of actors who, as Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson reported in January, were also relatively new faces drawn from the stage and the worlds of international or independent film and television.
“The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart,” showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement. “These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multiyear search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. The international cast of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle Earth.”
J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Impossible) is directing the first two episodes and serving as executive producer, alongside creative partner Belén Atienza. No release date has yet been announced for the show.
Since this story is set in Middle-earth’s “Second Age,” it will take place thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring, when Sauron was in his prime, and not just as a fiery eye in the sky. Obviously, many of the characters from that series wouldn’t exist in this time, but some of the ethereal beings like the elves Galadriel or Elrond could be part of this timeline.
As with the first round of casting, fans will surely be trying to match the performers with possible characters who would have been part of that long-ago word.
— The Crown: The True Story of the Queen’s Institutionalized Cousins— A Real-Life Chess Champion Talks The Queen’s Gambit— Prince Andrew’s Most Appalling Real-Life Antics Were Left Out of The Crown— Review: Hillbilly Elegy Is Shameless Oscar Bait— Inside the Obstinate Life of Bette Davis— The Crown: What Really Happened When Charles Met Diana— Diana’s Relationship With Princess Anne Was Even More Rocky Than in The Crown— From the Archive: Bette Davis on Her Failed Marriages and the Man Who Got Away— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.