Lenny Henry joins the cast of Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' series

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Lenny Henry takes part in the BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief 'Big Night In' at London on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Comic Relief/BBC Children in Need/Comic Relief via Getty Images)
Lenny Henry takes part in the BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief 'Big Night In' at London on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Comic Relief/BBC Children in Need/Comic Relief via Getty Images)

British comedian Sir Lenny Henry has been added to the cast of Amazon’s upcoming TV series based on Lord of the Rings.

The 62-year-old star is set to take on an unspecified role in the blockbuster show, which will eventually become the most expensive television series ever made.

It will focus on events in Middle Earth prior to those depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels and its subsequent movie adaptations.

Read more: Lord of the Rings cast members support Tolkien’s house campaign

Amazon Studios today announced 20 new cast members for the show, including Henry as well as veteran Scottish actor Peter Mullan.

They join already announced performers, including Saint Maud star Morfydd Clark as Galadriel — the role previously played by Cate Blanchett.

Elijah Wood as Frodo in the 'Lord of the Rings' franchise. (Credit: New Line Cinema)
Elijah Wood as Frodo in the 'Lord of the Rings' franchise. (Credit: New Line Cinema)

The full list of new additions is: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.

Read more: Orlando Bloom can’t wait to see Lord of the Rings show

J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are serving as showrunners for the series, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmmaker J.A. Bayona stepping in to direct the first two episodes.

The show is currently filming in New Zealand, having been delayed earlier in the year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in 'Lord of the Rings'. (Credit: New Line Cinema)
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in 'Lord of the Rings'. (Credit: New Line Cinema)

Amazon shelled out $250m (£185m) to secure the rights to this segment of Middle Earth mythology and will reportedly spend $1bn (£741m) over the course of several seasons.

The streamer will be hoping that they can get a piece of the financial success that has greeted J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations on the big screen, with the Lord of the Rings trilogy earning $2.96bn (£2.2bn) worldwide and The Hobbit films adding a further $2.93bn (£2.18bn).

Read more: Elijah Wood reveals thoughts on Lord of the Rings TV show

Little is known about the secretive series, though online casting calls earlier this year seemed to suggest the level of adult material could be closer to Game of Thrones than the family feel of the movies.

The Lord of the Rings TV series is expected to debut in 2021.

Watch: Elijah Wood on why Lord of the Rings still resonates