The Rings of Power ‘Casts’ Notorious Tolkien Nerd Stephen Colbert

Comedian and Tolkien nerd Stephen Colbert moderated The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power panel at San Diego Comic-Con and, between asking questions, managed to make a case for actually being cast on the series.

Colbert appeared on stage at Hall H for The Rings of Power after composer Bear McCreary led a full orchestra and choir in a live performance of one of the pieces composed for the upcoming series. The comedian’s appearance came as a surprise, though it was a fitting one considering he’s claimed to have read the book trilogy over fifty times since he first encountered the novels at age twelve. He mentioned he would ask the showrunners hard-hitting questions, and one of them was centered on the casting processing. “What were the auditions like and why did you never call me?,” Colbert asked of showrunners JD Payne, Patrick McKay, and executive producer Lindsey Weber during the discussion.

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Colbert’s proposed Rings of Power role might have been made in jest, but it would not even break precedence for the Tolkien franchise. The host and part-time actor put in a cameo for director Peter Jackson in the 2013 trilogy middle act The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaugin which he played an unnamed spy for the conniving Master of Laketown.

“We looked at thousands of people,” Weber explained about The Rings of Power‘s process of finding a large cast to play characters both familiar and unfamiliar. Characters already familiar to fans thanks to Peter Jackson’s trilogies include Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond. New faces have been cast for those roles on account of how young, relatively speaking, the characters are at the points in time The Rings of Power will cover. This is a Middle-earth that will be unrecognizable to fans, a new glimpse into an already established world from a different perspective. The Age of the Elves is not yet over in this world, and they are building their strongholds. In fact, even Hobbits have not yet begun to exist as we know them in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. McKay added that “in some ways, it’s meeting a very different Middle-earth.”

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“It was the Age of the Casting Process,” Payne further said about the time spent searching for actors to embody The Rings of Power‘s characters. “We had two criteria: they had to be an excellent performer because we knew it was going to be a fifty-hour story. Two, we had to look in their eyes and see that they had Middle-earth in them.”

The floor was given to the fans at the end of the panel. Audience members were able to direct questions to both the cast and crew. At the end, there was one final question that earned a round of applause from the audience: “Will you commit right now to giving Mr. Colbert a role?”

“The answer’s yes,” replied Payne as he went on to hand a notepad to Colbert for him to sign. The pad was then held up for the audience to see the evidence.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will premiere on September 2 on Prime Video.

Source: San Diego Comic-Con 2022

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