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How Lord Of The Rings Having No Returning Actors Could Hurt Amazon's Show

Amazon's upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV series could yet suffer from a lack of beloved actors returning to the show. It has been over two decades since Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring first visited Middle Earth and brought J. R. R. Tolkien's dazzling story to life on the big screen as Frodo and company enraptured a generation on their perilous journey to Mordor. However, Amazon's ambitious latest Lord of the Rings installment is set to take place thousands of years before Peter Jackson's trilogy, with very few of the original The Lord of the Rings characters set to return to the fray.

Amazon's The Lord of the Rings is confirmed to take place at the dawn of the Second Age, 3,441 years before Isildur defeats Sauron on the slopes of Mount Doom. The sprawling new epic, set for release in fall 2022, will document the rise and fall of several great kingdoms, including the fabled Númenor, while also laying the groundwork for the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Despite the series acting as a prequel to the original trilogy, the Amazon original is confirmed to boast a brand new cast, with even confirmed returning characters such as Galadriel and Elrond being recast to represent the elves in their youth.

Related: LOTR's Prequel Series Should Begin With Morgoth's Defeat

Yet a lack of returning actors could hurt Amazon's The Lord of the Rings, given the series' already heavy reliance on the nostalgia the original trilogy engenders. Considering Amazon's The Lord of the Rings is set to be the most expensive series ever made, it seems a strange choice not to bring fan-favorite actors back into the fold to ensure the show retains elements of the original trilogy that made the franchise so beloved, to begin with. The decision not to include Sauron in The Lord of the Rings' first season is equally perplexing, meaning the Amazon original is in danger of alienating its core fanbase before the show has even been released.

The recent confirmation from producers J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay that Sauron is not in Lord of the Rings season 1 is baffling given his centrality to the plot of the entire Second Age. Sauron's deceptions, machinations, and agency over evil is the singular catalyst of this Lord of the Rings time period, which means his lack of inclusion is certain to ruffle some feathers given the initial excitement surrounding seeing a young Sauron at work. Other actors in iconic roles are also confirmed not to be returning to the new series. Hugo Weaving has ruled himself out of returning as Lord Elrond, while Galadriel and Gandalf were recast despite Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett's names being synonymous with these key roles.

This means for many, The Lord of the Rings season 1 is looking a less enticing prospect given the lack of familiar faces and characters on offer in such an established setting. The mammoth and record-breaking budget of The Lord of the Rings series (over $1 billion) means the decision to recast immortal characters such as Galadriel seems short-sighted, as the Amazon original could no doubt have utilized makeup or CGI to ensure Blanchett still appears as the Galadriel image she has become synonymous with. That said, it's possible that Blanchett, who is predominantly a movie theatrical performer, would not want to be tied to the long-term contract of a TV series. The choice to recast big roles and skew towards a younger demographic is potentially dangerous for a series that will rely so heavily on the nostalgia built by Peter Jackson's original The Lord of the Rings trilogy and risks alienating the audiences whose fervor 20 years ago paved the way for the Amazon series' record-breaking budget to begin with.

Next: Amazon's Lord of the Rings Is Set To Bring Back The Movies' Secret Weapon

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