Amazon’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay recently released a joint statement describing J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy franchise as “epic, diverse and filled with heart.”
The statement came amid a huge cast announcement that included 20 new cast members to the show.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Payne and McKay stated, “The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse and filled with heart. 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.”
They added, “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.”
In a letter numbered 142 to Father Robert Murray, Tolkien had a different way of describing his work. He wrote, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”
He added, “That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”
Tolkien went on, “However that is very clumsily put, and sounds more self-important than I feel. For as a matter of fact, I have consciously planned very little; and should chiefly be grateful for having been brought up (since I was eight) in a Faith that has nourished me and taught me all the little that I know; and that I owe to my mother, who clung to her conversion and died young, largely through the hardships of poverty resulting from it.”
As announced by Karama Horne, the new additions to the cast include Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Lenny Henry, Thusithia Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walk, and Sara Zwangobani.
Horne wrote on Twitter, “So excited to partner with The Lord of the Rings on Prime to announce the new cast members for the series!”
She added, “Set in the Second Age (an era not in the films) it’s a great chance to introduce the universe to new fans. And just look at this cast!”
Who these actors will be playing were not revealed as the Amazon team attempts to keep the show under wraps.
However, The One Ring speculated back in July during a panel at San Diego Comic Con that there are a number of storylines the show could adapt.
The One Ring’s Cathy Udvoch speculated, “As far as storylines, I’m still fond of the Fall of Númenor, but obviously we have to have Sauron meddling in peoples’ lives in Númenor for that to fall, for them to happen.”
She added, “So, obviously the building of the rings, for me is the story I feel…Either the forging of the rings or the temptation and the fall of Númenor is the story we’re going to end up getting, I think.”
Co-host Cliff Broadway provided further speculation saying, “I would think so too. Since the Second Age goes across so many, many thousands of years. Perhaps they’ll do some shuffling of the timeline, and we’ll get some flashbacks that will tell us about the establishment of Númenor.”
He then added, “But my instincts are telling me they are going to go right towards the end of that era with Annatar appearing, his relationship with Celebrimbor, the elves in Harlond and their robust relationship with the Dwarves of Moria at the time.”
“I believe we will learn a lot more about Galadriel, Celeborn, and Gil-galad. Characters we have never seen. We see Gil-galad for maybe three or four seconds in The Fellowship of the Ring and his spear Aeglos,” Broadway detailed.
He also speculated that the reason why many of the cast members had been seen reading the Silmarillion was because they were doing research on the Akallabêth, which is the fourth part of the Silmarillion and the primary account of the downfall of Númenor.
Fellow The One Ring co-host concurred with Broadway stating, “Well it is the only thing that would be relevant unless you were going to dig even further into the First Age.”
As for the showrunners, The Hollywood Reporter credits them with work on Star Trek 4, a film that was never actually made.
On IMDB, Patrick McKay has an uncredited writer credit for Star Trek Beyond and an early screenplay for a new Flash Gordon film as well as The Lord of The Rings. He has no actual credits to his name on the Amazon owned website.
J.D. Payne is listed as John D. Payne on IMDB. Like McKay, he has an uncredited writer credit for Star Trek Beyond and a credit for an early screenplay for the Flash Gordon film along with the Lord of the Rings writer and producer credit. Also like McKay, he has no other actual credits.
No release date has been announced for the show.
What do you make of this description of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings? Does it make you want to check out the Amazon production when it is finally released?