Casting News: 'Lord of the Rings' Prequel TV Series Adds 'Game of Thrones' Actor Joseph Mawle

The eagerly-anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel series has added another cast member: Game of Thrones alum Joseph Mawle.

Mawle, who played Benjen Stark on the HBO show, and has also appeared in Sense 8 and Troy: Fall of a City, is the third actor to be confirmed for the series following rising star Markella Kavenagh and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch's Will Poulter, whose career-making roles we recently rounded up. Variety reports that Mawle will be playing a villain named Oren, though this has not been officially confirmed yet.

Though Amazon Studios signed a deal worth a rumored $250 million with J.R.R. Tolkien's estate back in November 2017, the prequel series remains shrouded in secrecy. The streaming network has committed to producing at least five seasons of the prequel, though, and it's understood that the action will take place in the "Second Age" of Tolkien's universe.

Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have confirmed that the series, like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies, will be shot in New Zealand. In a statement they called it the perfect place to convey the “primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle Earth.”

Legolas actor Orlando Bloom has already ruled out a return to Middle-Earth, but Sir Ian McKellen has suggested he is open to reprising his iconic, Oscar-nominated role as Gandalf. “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked," he said during an appearance on Graham Norton's U.K. Radio show. "But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old!”

Are you excited for the Lord of the Rings prequel series - and should Sir Ian McKellen sign up for it?