"The Second Age is the great, unfilmed story in Tolkien's entire Legendarium, with the forging of the rings and the Last Alliance," showrunner Patrick McKay previews in ET's exclusive featurette from the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series. "We felt that was a story that deserved to be told."
"What Tolkien represents, it's really important that we keep that legacy alive," shares Nazanin Boniadi, who plays Bronwyn, a human healer, in the upcoming series, which chronicles a time period in which darkness descends on Middle-earth.
"Galadriel has been on a quest for over a thousand years, scouring Middle-earth, searching for this elusive, undiscovered, very real evil," details Morfydd Clark, who plays a younger iteration of the Elven warrior portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the Lord of the Rings series. "Ultimately, she knows this danger exists, this evil has to be stopped."
"From the beginning, we knew that she couldn't do this alone," showrunner J.D. Payne adds. "Every good quest needs a fellowship."
Like the films that have come before it, that fellowship includes some unlikely team-ups of men, dwarves, elves, hobbits and more of Middle-earth's unexpected heroes.
"This is the time where the characters and the species that we know and love become who we know them to be," shares Ben Walker, who plays Gil-galad, High King of the Elves.
"The scope of the show is massive," marvels Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays Arondir, a Silvan Elf.
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'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Official Trailer
The series' epic cast also includes Charles Edwards, Rob Aramayo, Charlie Vickers, Tyroe Muhafidin, Daniel Weyman, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Trystan Gravelle, Maxim Baldry, Ema Horvath, Lloyd Owen, Leon Wadham, Markella Kavenagh, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Sara Zwangobani, Sophia Nomvete and Owain Arthur.
During the show's recent panel at San Diego Comic-Con -- hosted by Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert -- the cast members and creative team talked about joining the franchise and expanding the on-screen world of Lord of the Rings with the new series adapted from the appendices of the original books.
McKay shared that it's been a four-and-a-half-year process to bring this show to fans' screens, which included working with Tolkien scholars to create the series' original characters. This new installment -- which the EPs teased as a "50-hour story," which could mean five potential seasons -- is about "reintroducing this world, and the return of evil... We wanted to find a huge Tolkien-ien mega epic."
"It’s a human story," Payne shared of the new saga. "How far in the darkness would you go to protect the ones you love?"
Arthur, who plays Prince Durin IV, noted that his character has an "unlikely friendship" with Elrond (played by Robert Aramayo in the upcoming series, and Hugo Weaving in the earlier films), as a dwarf and an elf, respectively. And there's more than friendship between Bronwyn (Boniadi) and Arondir (Cruz Córdova), who have a "forbidden love," the actors shared.
Meanwhile, Nomvete will play Princess Disa, the first female dwarf to be depicted onscreen in a Tolkien adaptation. The English actress told the Comic-Con crowd that she auditioned for Rings of Power two days before giving birth to her daughter, landed the role when she was five days old, and was on set by the time she was eight weeks old. The costuming team adjusted her wardrobe so she could nurse in between scenes: "That is the power of a female dwarf."
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Sept. 2 on Prime Video. See more on the series in the video below.