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Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV Series: Release Date, Spoilers, Cast, and Characters

It's time to return to Middle-earth!

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Lindsay MacDonald

Ready to return to the Shire? We've been missing Middle-earth since the day the Lord of the Ringssaga ended, but now Amazon is about to let us return. The streaming service is creating a Lord of the Rings TV series, and although details are sparse about what this series will look like and when we can expect it, we're still amped about this new show!

TV Guide has kept an eagle eye out for any and all spoilers about this new series, and we've compiled every scrap of casting news, premiere speculation, and plot information currently out there about this Lord of the Rings series. Here's what we know so far.

It will be a prequel. Though we don't know specifics about when this series will be set. Amazon has confirmed that the television series will be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth. The Second Age lasted 3,441 years, and it ended with the downfall of the Dark Lord Sauron, the antagonist in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Given that franchise-defining plot point, there's a good chance this series will depict Sauron's rise and fall from power in Middle-earth.

Season 1 will be eight episodes. Amazon announced at the Television Critics Association 2020 winter press tour that the series first season will span eight episodes. Details on how long each episode will run haven't been announced.

A Game of Thrones alum will lead the series. Robert Aramayo, who played young Ned Stark in the HBO series, is set to star. He replaces Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Midsommaractor Will Poulter, who dropped out over a scheduling conflict.

Amazon's Lord of the Rings Prequel Series Should Include Elrond and His Dazzling Headbands

The rest of the cast is coming togetherAmazon confirmed in January 2020 that Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, and Markella Kavenagh had officially joined the series. 

In December 2020, Amazon announced even more names on the cast list. These included Maxim Baldry, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, newcomer 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, and Sara Zwangobani.

No details have been given about the actors' characters.

Legolas won't be making an appearance. Fans of the original film series learned directly from Orlando Bloom that his character, Legolas, likely will not appear in the series.

But Galadriel will. According to Variety, His Dark Materials actress Morfydd Clark has been tapped to portray the younger version of Cate Blanchett's character in the Peter Jackson films.

It's coming from fantasy and sci-fi heavy hitters. JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who previously worked on Star Trek 4, have been tapped to helm the series, and Game of Thrones writer and producer Bryan Cogman has signed on to consult on the series. The creative team will also include executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), and Sharon Tal Yguado, along with writers Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), and Jason Doble (Stranger Things). Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4) joins Cogman as a consulting producer, while Ron Ames and Helen Shang (Hannibal) will also produce. Kate Hawley has been chosen as the series' costume designer, while Rick Henrichs joins as production designer, and Jason Smith supervises visual effects, per Variety.

The first two episodes have an exciting director. Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona has been hired to direct the first two episodes of the series, Deadline reports. In a statement, Bayona said of the news, "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." His directing credits include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Impossible, The Orphanage, and episodes of Penny Dreadful.

Peter Jackson isn't involved. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit director confirmed to French press outlets that he is not involved in Amazon's new series.

The series has resumed filming in New Zealand. Following a coronavirus production shutdown, Amazon's forthcoming fantasy prequel reportedly picked up production again in September, per Deadline. The show is being shot in New Zealand, where Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed. 

It will hopefully premiere in 2021. A spin-off series is never late; it arrives precisely when it means to -- and Amazon Studios means for the new Lord of the Rings prequel series to arrive at a pretty far off point in the future. Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that the series would ideally premiere in 2021, though the production shutdown may have altered that plan.

It's already renewed for Season 2. Amazon announced in November 2019 that it had renewed the series for a second season after filming only two episodes of Season 1. Production then went on a hiatus so the bulk of Season 2 could be written. Given that Amazon reportedly committed to multiple seasons of this prequel series when it acquired the rights to Lord of the Rings (with an option for a potential spin-off), it sounds like this is just the beginning of a whole lot more Lord of the Rings content.