Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Recasting Mirrors The Original’s Aragorn

Actor Tom Budge announced that he’s departing Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. It’s concerning but mirrors the original films’ Aragorn recasting.

Actor Tom Budge recently took to Instagram to announce he had parted ways with Amazon after a year working on The Lord of the Rings television series, news which mirrors the recasting of Aragorn on the original fantasy trilogy. Amazon’s series, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels and apocrypha, is set to be one of the biggest television shows ever made, with a five-season commitment and second season renewal locked in, as well as a rumored $1 billion budget. The first season is currently in production in New Zealand and is thought to be premiering in 2021, though no official release date has been announced and the pandemic has interfered with production timelines.

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The Amazon television show is set in Middle Earth’s Second Age, around three millennia before the events of the six-film fantasy franchise. This era is most notable for being the time when Sauron created the rings of power and the One Ring itself, though the Second Age covers a time span of 3,441 years. Despite this, there is confirmation or rumors of several of the films’ characters appearing in the Amazon Lord of the Rings show: actress Morfydd Clark is confirmed to be playing the elf Galadriel, originally portrayed by Cate Blanchett; and Elrond, originally portrayed by Hugo Weaving, is rumored to appear in the series. Even so, the show will portray new storylines never before seen on screen about the peoples of Middle Earth in this entirely different era.

Related: Lord of the Rings: How Aragorn Is Distantly Related To Arwen

Amazon has confirmed some 30 cast members to be appearing in the series, though Clark’s Galadriel is the only named Lord of the Rings character thus far revealed. While his casting was announced in January 2020, Tom Budge posted to Instagram on 14 March that Amazon had decided to go another direction with the character he was portraying after seeing a cut of the show’s first few episodes, shot over the last year. This implies they intend to cast another actor in the role.

While it may cause Lord of the Rings fans concern over the production process – changing direction a year into shooting is never a particularly good sign – the move mirrors one that occurred some time into production on the original trilogy of films. At the start of the project, Irish actor Stuart Townsend (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) was hired in the role of Aragorn. He spent two months rehearsing for the role in New Zealand before being replaced, one day before shooting began, with Viggo Mortensen, whose portrayal of the character is legendary for its intensity and his commitment.

Though the specific character Tom Budge was to play on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series was yet to be announced, those waiting eagerly for the show can rest easy that the production has a handle on where the series is going. With an experienced team of writers and directors guiding the series, not to mention the budgetary investment and hype, it’s clear the team is reevaluating every step of the way. Hearing about the role of Aragorn being recast right before shooting began was equally disconcerting news for the films 20 years ago, but Mortensen ended up being perfect in the role. That’s not to say Townsend would not also have put in a good performance, and not to say Tom Budge’s efforts wouldn’t have been appreciated by audiences. All viewers can hope for is what Budge described in his Instagram post: that The Lord of the Rings series still turns out to be something “new, exciting and beautiful“, despite his absence.

Next: Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Show Can Fix The Movie’s Tom Bombadil Mistake

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