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Every character rumored to show up in Amazon's Lord of the Rings prequel

Amazon's uber-expensive cinematic venture into Middle-earth will take a big step back in time from the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. The prequel has been reported to focus on the epic Second Age, a period of time set thousands of years before Frodo inherited the One Ring. The Second Age is an exciting period that, among other things, sees Sauron make his first bid for total power, the Nazgûl receive their nine rings, and Aragorn's ancestors — the same ones that eventually settle Gondor — in their prime.

While it may be ancient history by the time The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place, we're talking about fantasy here, which means time doesn't necessarily play by the same rules. Many of the creatures of Middle-earth live very long lives. Elves, wizards, ents, and other immortal spirits consider a thousands of years as little more than a chapter in the long history of Middle-earth.

Naturally, then, there are quite a few well-known characters, particularly from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, that have the potential to show up in the series. Some may be connected to events in distant and convoluted ways, but others have a good chance of playing a central role in the plot. We've combed the vastitude of the interweb to discover what characters have been either rumored or, better yet, confirmed to make an appearance in the show — and it's a pretty enticing list if we do say so ourselves.

Galadriel is going to be in Amazon's Lord of the Rings prequel

The Lady of the Wood — portrayed in Peter Jackson's trilogy by the immensely talented Cate Blanchett — is a perfect candidate for the show, and the production team appears to be totally aware of this. In fact, during San Diego Comic-Con in late July 2020, it was announced (and repeated via a tweet from TheOneRing.net) that Galadriel was officially confirmed to be making an appearance in the show.

Of course, for any savvy fan who was already following the show's bread crumb trail of revelations, this was old news. Deadline had reported at the end of 2019 that Morfydd Clark had been cast as a younger Galadriel for the series. This double confirmation is a unique fact for a show that has, by and large, been cloaked in mystery.

The fact that Galadriel will, indeed, be involved in the story is an easy win for Amazon Studios. It allows them to link their production to a well-known element of Peter Jackson's pair of Tolkien trilogies while also weaving a character into the story who genuinely belongs in the plot (rather than shoehorning them in without a second thought ... like that time Legolas was way too involved in The Hobbit trilogy). Galadriel is a busy bee during the Second Age. The future Lady of Lórien — who also happens to be related to some pretty important elven royalty — spends a good amount of time wandering across the continent, and she'll be a welcome recast-yet-familiar face for fans of the original cinematic source material to connect with.

Elrond will be involved

Along with Galadriel, the SDCC announcement also confirmed the involvement of another popular elvish leader — Elrond. Played by Hugo Weaving in Jackson's trilogies, the half-elven sage is well-known as the father of Arwen and the man who oversees the famous council where it's decided that the One Ring must be destroyed. Like Galadriel, though, Elrond's history goes way back before all of the Ring business kicks off.

Elrond isn't quite as venerable as Galadriel — who eventually becomes his mother-in-law, by the way — but the dude is still born at the end of the First Age of Tolkien's mythology, making him thousands of years old when the events of the War of the Ring roll around. He has both elves and men in his family tree, too, all of which sets him up to play a pretty important role throughout the Second Age.

In fact, just to hit a few of the major points, during the Second Age, Elrond helps the king Gil-galad rule the elven realm of Lindon in northwestern Middle-earth. He leads an army against Sauron after the One Ring is forged, as well. While he's initially defeated by the Dark Lord, this leads him to found a new stronghold, which he names Rivendell. He also receives Vilya, the mightiest of the three elven rings, during this time, and he continues to wield it throughout the Second and Third Ages. So yeah, there are a ton of different ways that the folks at Amazon can weave Weaving's replacement into the plot.

Sauron is definitely going to stir up some trouble

When it comes to the Second Age, there's one antagonist that's absolutely impossible to leave out of the mix — Sauron. The Lord of the Rings, the Dark Lord Sauron is just as big of a threat (if not more so) in the Second Age as he is during The Lord of the Rings story. Once again, it's a fact that the production crew hasn't overlooked, as the villain is the third and final character that was officially confirmed during the 2020 SDCC announcement.

As is the case with The Lord of the Rings, during the Second Age, there may be many different protagonists that Tolkien juggles throughout his writings, but there's one big baddie who's trying to rule them all. Sure, there are plenty of smaller threats to think about, like Shelob or the Witch-king, but at the end of the day, Sauron is the driving force behind everyone's woes.

Halfway through the Second Age, Sauron creates the One Ring, initially in a futile attempt to corrupt and control the elves. After that, he attacks all of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth in a centuries-long grudge match that drags on for the rest of the age. At one point, he surrenders to the mighty men of Númenor, but even then, he ends up corrupting their king and destroying their entire island nation single-handedly. Suffice it to say, Sauron is a slam-dunk character to have in the show. Enough said.

Aragorn could eventually show up

Aragorn is getting along in age during The Lord of the Rings. In fact, he's already 88 years old when the One Ring is destroyed. Of course, that's hardly old enough to warrant his inclusion in a show that takes place, at the earliest, nearly 3,000 years before he was born. And yet, the dude has persistently been talked about as a possible character in the show.

In fact, Aragorn's inclusion was one of the first stories to hit the rumor mill back when Amazon had just acquired the rights and hadn't even broken ground on the massive project. The scuttlebutt increased when The Walking Dead star Tom Payne hinted that Amazon was casting Aragorn. Of course, logically, early gossip of this nature may have been due to little more than an initial inclination for the show to focus on a younger Aragorn before it was decided to pack things up and head back to the Second Age.

And yet, even with Amazon's sights firmly set on the past, there could still be ways to tie the ranger into the story. For instance, Aragorn is the direct descendant of Elrond's brother, Elros, the first king of the island nation of Númenor. That said, the show could easily have a flashforward to King Aragorn reminiscing on stories of the past, or if the show's a hit, the narrative could even eventually connect with Aragorn before the War of the Ring begins. Either way, an Aragorn connection may be too tantalizing to miss.

Frodo could be shoehorned into the mix

At this point, we're getting into complete conjecture, but if we're willing to consider the chance that Aragorn could be in a flashforward, we should also take into account the fact that the hobbit Frodo Baggins could actually get in on the action as well. Why Frodo and not someone older character like Gandalf or Legolas? For a couple of reasons, actually.

First, it should be noted that Elijah Wood already returned for The Hobbit trilogy by briefly appearing in a flashforward with an older Bilbo, reprised by none other than the late Ian Holm. While that one fact is obviously not enough to warrant conjecture that he could show up again in a prequel set thousands of years earlier, there's one other tidbit that should be considered. Wood is willing to do yet another cameo if he's asked.

In an interview with IndieWire, the actor explained that he knew Frodo didn't fit into a Second Age story. However, when asked if he'd be willing to cameo, he added, "If there was a world where that made sense and was organic to what they're doing, then yes." In other words, if the production crew wants to write up a cameo flashforward for the Ringbearer, Wood is ready to roll. And the opportunity to connect the show to yet another familiar face may be just enough to push the producers to write in a bit for Bilbo's adopted heir.

Other confirmed characters for Amazon's Lord of the Rings prequel

While we've covered several bigwig names thus far, the truth is that Tolkien's original source material for the Second Age is a bit sparse. Major characters are often named, but at the end of the day, Amazon may need to fill in a lot of no-name faces if they want to cobble together something resembling a coherent narrative.

Naturally then, as various actors have been announced, they've often been linked to completely new characters. For instance, in October 2019, Deadline reported that Joseph Mawle would be playing an antagonist named Oren, Robert Aramayo (who replaced Will Poulter) was apparently cast to play a protagonist named Beldor, and Markella Kavenagh appears to be stepping into the role of Tyra. If these names fail to ring a bell, it's because they're all new to the Tolkien legendarium. 

Some of the wilder rumors (via Observer) have also floated original characters like Neldor, Brac, Eira, Aric, Calenon, Loda, Kari, Hamson, Cole, and a possible primary protagonist in a complex, formidable woman named Eldien. Now, to reiterate, most of these are strictly rumored, and many things can change over the course of producing a show. Nevertheless, they're still characters whose names have been discussed in connection with the prequel story.

Could Amazon's original characters simply be misdirection?

With so many new names in the mix, it begs the question, are they all real? Is there a chance that the new names attached to the project are little more than placeholders designed to hide several characters' true identities? As was already mentioned, the series has kept a tight lid on things. For instance, actor Dylan Smith is involved and could possibly be playing a dwarf or a wild man, but we're not really sure about that because Smith has been keeping things vague. The writers' room for the show is also infamous for having taped-closed windows, a security guard at the door, and a fingerprint scanner required to enter.

Nevertheless, there are a few hints that some characters may be more than they seem. For instance, Mawle's character has been billed as the show's "lead villain," which happens to sound an awful lot like a spot that the Ring-making Dark Lord Sauron should fill. In addition, having so many new names floating around while Galadriel and Elrond are the only protagonists so far that, you know, are actually in the original source material may suggest that a few of these "primary roles" will end up revealing characters that are a bit more familiar than they seem.

Other protagonists who could be involved

While we're on the subject of rumored characters, it's worth taking a minute to consider other ways that Amazon can draw on the well-established cast of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to help their prequel resonate with viewers. As far as protagonists go, there are several other candidates besides Galadriel and Elrond. For instance, the show could connect to the original trilogy by working Treebeard into the mix. The aged ent is impressively old, even during the Second Age, and could easily be shown puttering around Fangorn Forest or hanging out with his then-significant other, the entwife Fimbrethil.

The elven King Gil-Galad and the Númenórean king of men, Elendil, are also good candidates to incorporate into the story. They make brief appearances in the opening sequence of The Fellowship of the Ring, which depicts scenes from the end of the Second Age. On top of that, Elendil's son, Isildur — the one who cuts the One Ring from Sauron's hand — could and should be a key element in the show. Finally, while it may make critics of The Hobbit movies cringe at the thought, the immortal elf Legolas could even manage to wander into the story. However, if Orlando Bloom has anything to say about it, it isn't likely. In an interview (via Deadline), the Legolas actor explained that, "I don't know where I would fit in that world," a sentiment that undoubtedly will make many serious Tolkienites breathe a sigh of relief.

Other antagonists who might show up

Along with the good guys, there are also quite a few well-established villains who get their start — or at least build some momentum — in the Second Age. The Nazgûl are given their nine rings during this time, which means we could get a nice backstory for how the Witch-king and his ghoulish companions rose to power and eventually became corrupted. The balrog that Gandalf confronts in The Fellowship of the Ring also relocates to the Mines of Moria around the Second Age, offering another character that could cross over from the films to the show.

Fans of the extended edition of The Return of the King are also likely familiar with the Mouth of Sauron, who confronts the heroes when they arrive at the Black Gate during the climax of the film. And while the mortal renegade may not make a direct appearance, he hails from the corrupted group of people known as the Black Númenóreans, who could very easily factor into the show. And then there's Shelob. The great spider dwells in the mountain passes long before Frodo and Samwise ever enter her lair. Her brooding presence likely rolls into the area during the Second Age, making Her Ladyship a perfect candidate to join in on the nefarious fun.

The best candidates for quick cameos in Amazon's Lord of the Rings prequel

Finally, while we've mostly covered characters so far who could have significant roles in the show, there are several characters like Aragorn or Frodo who could be perfect for a quick cameo here and there or an occasional flashforward. For instance, there's the trio of wizards — Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast — and possibly even the pair of blue wizards who never get much attention in Tolkien's writings. All five of these characters arrive in Middle-earth, looking old and careworn, roughly a millennium into the Third Age. However, Tolkien's wizards are actually incarnated angelic spirits. In other words, they function as wizards while in their physical bodies, but they're immortal beings who existed long before they wandered into the continent as old men with magic staffs. Any of them could make an appearance — albeit in spiritual form — during Amazon's show.

Bilbo is another possibility to pop into the narrative for a moment or two. The hobbit adventurer ends up playing a pretty crucial role in translating many of the important ancient historical events from the elvish language. He could easily be shown laboring over his writings far into the future. And then, there's Tom Bombadil. Unknown to fans of the cinematic films due to his part of the story being cut, the character is an immortally jolly enigma whose power is so deep that even the One Ring can't affect him. If he were to drop in for a scene or two, it could be enough to make any diehard Tolkien fan pee their pants.