Amazon Studios has officially announced its core cast for the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel television series. The show, helmed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, will focus on the Middle-earth adventures that occur leading up to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. After an extensive casting search, it was shared last week that Amazon had found their lead in Game of Thrones’ Robert Aramayo. Today, it was revealed that he will be joined by Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman.

Payne and McKay have expressed their excitement with their chosen cast, the “first group of brilliant performers” in the new Lord of the Rings series:

These exceptionally talented women and men are more than just our actors: they are the newest members of an ever-expanding creative family that is now working tirelessly to bring Middle-earth to life anew for fans and audiences worldwide.

Production will begin this February. Expectations are high — so high that the show got renewed for a second season before Season 1 even premiered its first episode. There’s clearly a demand for a new LOTR series: In 1999, The Lord of the Rings was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium. The beloved film series from New Line Cinema won a total of 17 Academy Awards and grossed almost $6 billion worldwide. Plus, without any new episodes of Game of Thrones, the desire for an epic fantasy drama in a striking natural setting grows stronger with each day. Let's hope this Lord of the Rings spinoff quenches it.

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