The long-awaited Lord of the Rings show has finally been cast. This morning, Amazon announced the highly anticipated fantasy show begins filming in February. The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular franchises of all time. Originally a set of fantasy novels written by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings is set in the fictional Middle-earth and follows a diverse cast of complex characters. The books are some of the best-selling novels ever written, with The Lord of the Rings named Britain's best novel in 2003 by the BBC's The Big Read.

The Peter Jackson movies released in the early 2000s are just as popular. The trilogy based on The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King was both critically and commercially successful, grossing billions of dollars at the box office. They also received dozens of awards nominations and won an impressive 17 Academy Awards. The final film in the trilogy, The Return of the King, won Best Picture at the Oscars and grossed over a billion dollars, a feat that was very rare at the time.

The Lord of the Rings television series is moving forward as its cast has been set and filming begins next month. A show based on the fantasy franchise has been in talks for several years and is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video. The show takes place before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, acting as a prequel series. Like the movies, filming will largely take place in New Zealand. The cast includes Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Cůrdova, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman.

Additionally, Markella Kavenagh, Ema Horvath, and Joseph Mawle have been officially confirmed as cast members, as their inclusion in the series had previously been rumored. One notable absence from the cast is Will Poulter, who, after signing on as a lead, dropped out of the series due to scheduling conflicts. The series will be lead by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. The first season will feature eight episodes. It is unclear as to whether or not the show will be connected to the movie trilogy.

As popular as the series is, some fans are worried about this new Lord of the Rings adaptation. Some believe Peter Jackson's nearly perfect movie adaptations were good enough and that Middle-earth doesn't need to be explored on screen any more than it already has been. When the series was in early development, Andy Serkis, known for playing Gollum in the film trilogy, was asked if he had any interest in returning to the franchise. He said no, claiming he would want something new to be explored in the series instead of revisiting old material. Actor John Rhys-Davies was much more blunt about his displeasure with the new series. Known for his role as Gimli in the Peter Jackson trilogy, Rhys-Davies believes the people making the show are "unprincipled and greedy for money," and that Tolkien would be displeased at what the showrunners are doing to his story. Only time will tell if this new Lord of the Rings series is indeed just a cash grab, or perhaps the next Game of Thrones.