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Fans of all things having to do with The Lord of the Rings will get to experience Middle-earth all over again. The new Amazon Studios series is going to be a prequel to events in The Lord of the Rings movies that are so popular. Big moves are already happening and the series now has its main villain in a familiar face.

When is the new series set?

The Second Age will be highlighted in this unique take. Tolkien fans will recall that The Second Age takes place thousands of years before events in the hit movies. Early reports speculate that the series will find its way to Amazon Prime Video by 2021.

The Second Age has a lot of good material for writers to draw from. It lasted 3,441 years and ended with the turbulent takedown of Sauron. His downfall happened because of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. This is also the time when the Ringwraiths are created and The Rings of Power. It will be interesting to see how closely the series will resemble Tolkien’s world.

‘Lord of the Rings’ has its main villain

Joseph Mawle
Joseph Mawle | David M. Benett/Getty Images for Audi UK

Joseph Mawle has been cast as the new villain in the series, according to sources. Viewers may recognize Mawle from Game of Thrones where he plays Benjen Stark. Sources confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter but Amazon declined to comment.

Mawle is reportedly playing the main villain who is named Oren. He’s been cast alongside a few others who are already involved in the upcoming project. He’s joining Markella Kavenagh, an Australian actress, and Will Poulter of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Poulter will play the lead in the new series. Kavenagh is set to play a character by the name of Tyra.

Other big names are joining the new project

The series, which hasn’t even been released, already has a multi-season commitment with Amazon. Both J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are the showrunners on the new show. J.A Bayona has already signed on to direct the first two episodes. Both Bayona and Belén Atienza, his producing partner, will be executive producers on the series. They’ll be joined along with writers Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill, and Justin Doble as executive producers. More executive producers joining the ranks are Bruce Richmond, Gene Kelly, Lindsey Weber, and Sharon Tal Yguado.

The new series will have a large episode count

Production is supposed to begin sometime in 2020 and fans can expect a large episode count. Amazon revealed a behind-the-scenes video called “Fellowship” that showed off the new creative team that is working on the upcoming series. One of those members is Tim Shippey who is considered a “Tolkien Scholar.” Shippey will help adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.

Shippey let slip that the new series will have 20 episodes in an interview with Deutsche Tolkien while talking about filming locations. “The exact locations are of course uncertain and it could well be several,” Shippey said. “The shooting itself does not take place chronologically, but is oriented towards the locations. Logically, you try to bundle all the scenes that take place in one location and film them so that you have it done and don’t have to return to that place several times. But this also implies that everything has to be clear at the start of filming, you have to know the end. There’s supposed to be 20 episodes for the first season. So until they’ve decided what the end is going to be, they can’t start filming.”

Fans can’t wait to see the highly anticipated new series set in the world of Middle-earth. The story will hopefully be a unique adaptation.