The anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series is reportedly nearing production and has already lined up its first cast member.
According to Variety, Australian actress Markella Kavenagh will take on the role of Tyra – an entirely new character who is entirely separate from JRR Tolkien’s beloved books.
The actress became a prominent face on Australian TV in the series Romper Stomper, and has also performed in the BBC’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Cry.
Instead of treading the same path as Sir Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning epics, the upcoming Amazon series is based on “previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings”.
Jackson himself or any of his cast will not be involved, but fan theories claim that the first series will be an origins story for Aragorn – who was famously portrayed by Viggo Mortensen in Jackson’s movie trilogy.
The show comes after Amazon Studios signed a reported $250m rights contract with the author’s estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema to produce a multi-season show for television. The Hollywood Reporter have reported that the budget is set to be at least $1 billion – the biggest in television history.
Amazon has committed to producing five seasons of a Lord of the Rings TV series as part of its $250 million rights deal.
Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the original trilogy, has expressed interest in reprising his role. Asked by Graham Norton on his BBC radio show if it was going to be annoying to have another pointy-hatted wizard around, McKellen replied: “What do you mean, another Gandalf?”
He added: “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7000 years old, so I’m not too old.”