With production currently underway on Amazon Prime's prequel series based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy series in New Zealand, The Lord of the Rings series announced on Thursday a massive 20 new names joining the cast (meaning that Amazon Prime now employs 98.72% of all working actors around the world). Lenny Henry (Doctor Who), Peter Mullan (Ozark), Lloyd Owen (You, Me and the Apocalypse), Augustus Prew (Pure Genius), Peter Tait ("LOTR" franchise), Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow, Power), Simon Merrells (Spartacus: War of the Damned), Maxim Baldry (Years and Years), Ian Blackburn (Shelter), Kip Chapman (Top of the Lake), Anthony Crum (The Wilds), Maxine Cunliffe (The Wilds), Trystan Gravelle (A Discovery of Witches), Thusitha Jayasundera (Holby City), Fabian McCallum (You, Me & The Apocalypse), Geoff Morrell (Farscape), Alex Tarrant (When We Go to War), Leon Wadham (Go Girls), and Sara Zwangobani (Disgrace) are joining the massive project.
"The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart," said series' executive producers and showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. 'These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year 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."
Payne and McKay are developing the series and serving as showrunner, with Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) serving as a consultant. Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) 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, and Maxim Baldry.
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.
In the video below, LotR fans learned the creative team's killer line-up of talent – including 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.