It feels like we've been hearing about Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV series for years now, with no updates on when we might actually get to watch it — until now. Heads of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, Vernon Sanders, and Albert Cheng finally offered a brief update on the highly-anticipated show at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday.

Salke confirmed that the table reads for the first few episodes have begun in New Zealand, and Cheng and Sanders, who just returned from visiting those table reads, shared new casting information for the series.

"We have looked throughout the globe for the right people to bring this to life and we are extraordinarily proud of the cast we've assembled," Sanders said. "This isn't all the cast — we still have a few key roles to cast — but we were there for the table read it was amazing. The passion and the devotion to the Tolkien legendarium is really tangible there."

In addition to Robert Aramayo, whose casting had previously been reported, the Amazon executives confirmed the casting of 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. No details were given about which characters they'd play or whether those characters were elves, hobbits, or humans.

Everything We Know About the Lord of the Rings TV Series

Amazon also announced the episode count for the first season, confirming that it will span eight episodes. Details on how long each episode will be were not announced.

The prequel series set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, and Amazon has apparently committed to multiple seasons of this prequel series. Salke has previously said that the series would ideally premiere in 2021, though that's always been a ballpark figure. More details about the series will no doubt start leaking out as production gets underway in New Zealand.

Viggo Mortensen, <em>Lord of the Rings: Return of the King</em>Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

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