'Lord of the Rings' Amazon Series Casts Its Main Villain

Joseph Mawle - Getty - H 2019
Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

Amazon's highly anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series has found its villain. 

Game of Thrones grad Joseph Mawle has joined the cast of the scripted drama project, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. Amazon declined comment. 

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic fantasy novels, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (Star Trek 4) serve as showrunners on the series that is set in Middle-Earth's Second Age, before the events of the author's primary trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Mawle is believed to be playing a villain named Oren in the straight-to-series effort. He joins a cast that also includes Will Poulter (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) and Australian actress Markella Kavenagh. 

J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is set to direct the first two episodes and will executive produce along with his producing partner Belén Atienza. Writers Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos) and Justin Doble (Stranger Things) are also EPs, as are Lindsey Weber, Bruce Richmond, Gene Kelly and former Amazon head of genre Sharon Tal Yguado.
Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said in August that the creative team has been "working for months" on breaking the first season of the show. Production is slated to begin in 2020.
Once production budgets, casting, writers, producers and visual effects are factored in, the total cost for the LOTR series could reach as high as $1 billion.

Deadline first reported the casting.