On the same day that J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay's upcoming The Lord of the Rings series welcomed director Charlotte Brändström (The Witcher, Jupiter's Legacy) to the team, Mortal Kombat star Ludi Lin took to Twitter to wonder why the Amazon series wasn't welcoming more Asian actors onto the cast. Responding to Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke's recent comments in a THR "roundtable" article that the prequel series needs a "giant, global audience" for it to succeed and justify the reported $465 million first-season price tag, Lin wrote, "It's going to be difficult to justify building a 'huge world' without any characters that look Asian. Turn that imagine on us [Jennifer Salke]. It's not hard, we're right here."
Here's a look at Lin's tweet:
"I'm very excited to be guided through Middle-earth by JD's and Patrick's vision and immerse myself in the iconic world of J.R.R. Tolkien. It's a great privilege to be in New Zealand to work with Amazon Studios' outstanding ensemble of creative talents," said Brändström. The director joins Wayne Che Yip (Hunters, Preacher, Doctor Who), who is directing four episodes and co-executive producing; and J. A. Bayona (A Monster Calls, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), who is directing the first two episodes.
The new stories will take place prior to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring" and look to focus on the "Second Age" – a time when the Rings of Power were first revealed. "J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan, it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team. I can't wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story," explained Bayona at the time the news was announced. Payne and McKay are developing the series and serving as showrunners, with Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) serving as a consultant. Bayona is set to direct the first two episodes. Amazon Studios produces, in conjunction with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.
The prequel series stars 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, Daniel Weyman, Maxim Baldry, Lenny Henry, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Benjamin Walker, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Simon Merrells, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Geoff Morrell, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, and Sara Zwangobani.
Amazon's Lord of the Rings series' creative team line-up includes Amazon's ex-genre head Sharon Tal Yguado as well as Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Tal Yguado, writer/executive producer Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad); writer/executive producer Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), writer/executive producer Justin Doble (Stranger Things), consulting producer Stephany Folsom, producer Ron Ames, writer and co-producer Helen Shang, and writing consultant Glenise Mullins. Bayona will executive produce alongside partner Belén Atienza.