Sauron may not be making a Lord of The Rings debut when the program launches in 2021 after all.
Deadline reports Game of Thrones vet Joseph Mawle (Uncle Benjen!) will play Oren, the “lead villain” of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings television series. Set sometime in the Second Age of Middle-earth, the program will tell a new story of Elves, Men and, presumably, the Dark Lord Sauron — the title character of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic. Other cast members include Will Poulter as Beldor and Markella Kavenagh as Tyra.
As readers of Tolkien’s wider legendarium know, the Second Age was a time when Sauron attempted to seize control of Middle-earth and sway both Men and Elves to his cause. It was during this period he aided in the forging of the Rings of Power, fashioned his own One Ring to control them, and led the island nation of Numenor to its destruction. But as Tolkien only completed one broad overview of the Second Age, The Akallabeth, and fiddled with the timeline up until the point of his death, there are few solid characters for Amazon to use. Notable figures in its history exist, to be sure, but the introduction of names like Oren and Tyra suggest produced JD Payne and Patrick McKay are creating new characters not associated with the lore to give viewers a way into the scope of the Second Age.
Or, these names are placeholders.
Mawle’s Oren in particular seems like a placeholder for Sauron himself. The vowels are in the right place and it would a major surprise to learn the main villain of The Lord of the Rings television is not the Lord of the Rings, but some guy named Oren. Tolkien described Sauron as utilizing a “fair” Elven face when dealing with Elves like Gil-galad and Celebrimbor, he also had other manifestations. It is possible Oren is the human guise of Sauron, but is it also possible he is a Man aligned with the Lord of the Rings. Either way, we expect Mawle will be a fine addition to the cast.
That said, we’d still love to see Harry Lloyd appear on the series as Sauron’s Elven guise.
The Lord of the Rings is expected to debut in 2021 on Amazon.