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Why The High King Gil-Galad On Amazon's Rings Of Power Looks So Familiar

Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is set to premiere on September 2, 2022, and when it does it will take viewers back to the world of Middle Earth for the first time since Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies" in 2014.

The soon-to-be-released TV series is set during Tolkien's Second Age, a time period that spanned 3,500 years and predated the events of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." This era saw the creation of the eponymous Rings of Power, including the One Ring to Rule Them All. It also saw the rise of Sauron, who became Dark Lord and went to war with the armies of men, elves, and dwarves, culminating in his defeat at the hands of Isildur.

One major character on the TV series is High King Gil-galad. He's briefly mentioned in the "Fellowship of the Ring" novel and briefly appears in Peter Jackson's movie, but he's much more prominent in the several more books that compile J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium. Without spoiling too much, he's the elven High King of Noldor and the ruler of Lindon. He plays a small role in the creation of the Rings of Power, and later he receives two of the elven Rings of Power for safe keeping. If you'd like to know more, here's a breakdown of the main characters in "The Rings of Power."

High King Gil-galad is played by American actor Benjamin Walker. Here's why you might recognize him.

He slayed vampires as Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Benjamin Walker was born in 1982 and started out as a standup comedian before landing his first credited screen role as young Alfred Kinsey in the 2004 biopic about the famed sex educator (via IMDb). He followed that up with several more small roles in movies and TV shows before landing his big break in 2012 as Abraham Lincoln in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."

The story follows a young, pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln as he seeks revenge on the coven of vampires who killed his mother when he was a boy. Obviously it's a completely bonkers plot, but Walker still approached it with the seriousness that he would with any other role.

"In thinking about Abraham Lincoln, especially in this context, it's important that we're respectful," Walker told FXM. "We understand, yeah, it's a ridiculous premise, we get it. But that's where the joke should end. The movie is the answer to the question, 'Now what?' And we tried to make a serious period movie about Lincoln. And to do that, we had to do a lot of research."

He played the morally complex Erik Gelden on Jessica Jones

In 2019, Walker had a substantial supporting role in the Netflix series as Erik Gelden. In Marvel Comics, Gelden was originally the alter ego of the supervillain Mind-Wave. On the TV series, he was reimagined as a morally gray con artist and love interest for Jessica (Krysten Ritter). This version of Gelden can intuit whether people are capable of evil. Initially, Gelden uses this information to blackmail wealthy criminals. When he meets Jessica, he begins using it to stop crime.

As Walker explained to Marvel.com, the job was unusual for him because it was longform. Walker's character had a gradual arc that played out over multiple episodes, allowing him to explore a range of emotions. As he put it, "You meet Erik early on when he is drunk, in trouble, in pain, and desperate. And he needs [Jessica's] help. So, that's how we meet Erik. But he has a lot to offer, and I think Jessica quickly realizes that."

He acted alongside Liam Neeson in The Ice Road

Earlier this year, Benjamin Walker had a major supporting role in the Netflix thriller "The Ice Road." The film stars Liam Neeson as Mike McCann, one of four truckers who has to drive mining equipment across treacherous icy roads so that a group of trapped miners can be rescued. Walker plays Tom Varnay, a mining company actuary who's sent along to assess the insurance situation. Sure enough, in the grand tradition established by characters like Paul Reiser's Carter Burke in Aliens, the company man betrays them.

For Walker, performing alongside an acting legend like Liam Neeson was instructive. Even though Walker isn't known for his action movie abilities like Neeson is, it still taught him a lot about how those stories work.

"A lot of movies have action in them. But what was the most interesting part about doing action with [Neeson] was that he approached it as an opportunity for storytelling," Walker explained to Collider. "Why is he punching this way in this moment in this story? It's not as if the narrative of a thriller stops, action happens, and the narrative picks up. We have to learn something about who's throwing the punch, who's getting punched, and he really kind of ingrained that in me."