Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings series has lost a cast member as Tom Budge (Judy & Punch, Bloom) announced his departure from the drama series on his Instagram. Over the weekend, Budge said: “It is with great sadness that I am writing to tell you I have departed Amazon’s Lord of the Rings television series. After recently seeing the first episodes shot over the last year Amazon has decided to go in another direction with the character I was portraying… I must thank the creative team for their encouragement towards trying something that I believed was new, exciting and beautiful.”
Details about Budge’s character have not been released and it is unknown whether the role has been recast or if the character has been removed entirely from the project. You can read Budge’s full statement below:
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Amazon Studios’ forthcoming Lord of the Rings series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
With the series set during the Second Age, this places approximately 3,000 years of history between the series and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings. Casual fans may not realize it, but Jackson’s Fellowship of the Rings actually depicted the end of the Second Age, when the last alliance of elves and men confronted Sauron’s forces. The Second Age covered nearly 3,441 years, and it began after the banishment of Morgoth, the dark lord before Sauron. There’s a lot of story potential in that time, including the rise of Sauron, the creation of the One Ring, and the emergence of the Ringwraiths.
The series will star Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones) Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones), Maxim Baldry (Years and Years), Markella Kavenagh, Ema Horvath, and Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud), who will portray the role of a young Galadriel which is the first confirmed major character that will be featured in the series. It will also feature Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, and Charlie Vickers.
The ensemble cast continues to grow with the recent casting additions of Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani. Blackburn, Chapman, Crum, Cunliffe, Tait, Tarrant, and Wadham all hail from New Zealand, with the remaining international ensemble cast originating from Australia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Orphanage, The Impossible) will direct the first two episodes of Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings TV series and will also executive produce alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza. JD Payne and Patrick McKay are showrunning and executive producing the series alongside Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), and Justin Doble (Stranger Things).
The Lord of the Rings series is produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema. It is expected to debut in 2021.
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)