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Count Samwise Gamgee among the early fans of Amazon’s new series take on a J.R.R. Tolkien classic. Sean Astin, one of the original cast members from Peter Jackson’s award-winning The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, says he saw an LOTR revival coming years ago — and he couldn’t be happier about a new batch of fans making their very first small-screen journey to Middle-earth.
With the highly anticipated (and reportedly very expensive) Amazon series still yet to announce an official debut date, Astin nevertheless sounds as hyped about its potential as any longtime fan. Speaking with ComingSoon.net recently, Astin said it makes sense for The Lord of the Rings to swing back into pop culture consciousness two decades after Jackson’s film cycle elevated it to touchstone status for an entire generation of moviegoers.
“I think Amazon was great to do it. I fully predicted in 2002, that it would be in 2020, 2021, that they would reboot it,” said Astin, part of the jolly quartet (along with Elijah Wood, aka Frodo; Dominic Monaghan, aka Merry; and Billy Boyd, aka Pippin Took) who anchored the first films. “I was specific about it and people asked how it could be so sure, and I said, ‘Because I have that foresight.’ No, because I know in a generation, people want to experience what they love again.”
Astin said he doesn’t have any insider access to how the series is shaping up. But even without a hands-on preview of the finished product, he’s got a Hobbit’s optimism about how Amazon’s new take will connect.
“I’ve always been a big one to support sequels and remakes and particularly of classics,” Astin explained. “A lot of people think, 'Why would you want to remake a classic?' The good news is the classic will always remain. So maybe somebody will do something interesting, and if it stinks, don’t watch it. But I have every expectation that this Lord of the Rings adaptation is going to be amazing. It’s been a long time in the making, really talented people working on it, and it only helps people remember 20 years ago when we brought out our version of Lord of the Rings. So it’s good for everyone when stuff like that happens.”
Fans can be fiercely protective of their treasured Tolkien lore, but Astin’s upbeat outlook could fill the whole Shire with hope that Amazon’s series — already green-lit for a second season — will become this generation’s LOTR tale to rule them all. Currently in production in New Zealand, the series is set to unfold before the events of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, delving into Middle-earth’s Second Age, while also drawing from Tolkien's other writings.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J. A. Bayona is helming both the pilot and second episode for the series, with Wayne Che Yip (Doctor Who, Hunters) and Charlotte Brändström (The Witcher, Jupiter’s Legacy) also taking early turns in the director’s chair.
With a sprawling cast including cast Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones), Peter Mullan (Westworld), Benjamin Walker (Jessica Jones), Owain Arthur (Kingdom), Markella Kavenagh (The Gloaming), Nazanin Boniadi (Counterpart), Morfydd Clark (His Dark Materials), Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones), Tom Budge (The Pacific), Ismael Cruz Cordova (The Catch), and more, the new Lord of the Rings series is tentatively expected to debut on Amazon Prime late this year or early in 2022.