How The Absence of Returning Actors From “Lord of the Rings” Could Harm Amazon’s Show

“The Lord of the Rings” TV series, which will premiere on Amazon, may suffer from a lack of well-known stars returning. Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring first visited Middle Earth over two decades ago, bringing J. R. R. Tolkien’s spectacular epic to life on the big screen as Frodo and his companions entranced a generation on their treacherous trip to Mordor. However, Amazon’s ambitious new Lord of the Rings film will take place thousands of years before Peter Jackson’s trilogy, with only a few of the classic “The Lord of the Rings” characters scheduled to return.

“The Lord of the Rings” is set at the start of the Second Age, 3,441 years before Isildur destroys Sauron on the slopes of Mount Doom, according to Amazon. The mammoth new epic will record the birth and fall of several major kingdoms, including the famous Nmenor, while also laying the basis for the events of The Hobbit and “The Lord of the Rings”, with a release date scheduled for fall 2022. Despite the fact that the Amazon original is a prequel to the original trilogy, the cast has been revealed to be entirely new, with even confirmed returning characters like Galadriel and Elrond being recast to depict the elves in their youth.

However, considering the series’ heavy reliance on the nostalgia that the original trilogy engenders, a dearth of returning stars could hamper Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Given that Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings” is slated to be the most costly series ever produced, it seems odd not to bring back fan-favorite actors to ensure the program preserves parts of the original trilogy that made the brand so famous in the first place. The choice not to feature Sauron in the first season of “The Lord of the Rings” is baffling, implying that the Amazon original is in danger of alienating its core following before it even airs.

Given Sauron’s centrality to the plot of the whole Second Age, the recent confirmation from producers J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay that he will not be in “Lord of the Rings” season 1 seems perplexing. The sole trigger of this Lord of the Rings time period is Sauron’s deceptions, intrigues, and agency over evil, so his exclusion is bound to ruffle some feathers given the initial excitement surrounding witnessing a young Sauron at the action. Other actors who played legendary roles have also indicated that they will not be reprising their roles in the next season. Despite Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett’s names being connected with these major roles, Hugo Weaving has ruled himself out of returning as Lord Elrond, and Galadriel and Gandalf have been recast.

Because of the lack of known faces and characters in such a well-established setting, “The Lord of the Rings” season 1 appears to be a less appealing proposition for many. “The Lord of the Rings” series’ massive and record-breaking budget (over $1 billion) makes the decision to remake timeless characters like Galadriel seem short-sighted since the Amazon original could no doubt have used cosmetics or CGI to guarantee Blanchett retained her iconic Galadriel visage. However, Blanchett, who is most known for her work in movies, may not want to be bound to a long-term TV series commitment.