Amazon’s multi-season The Lord of the Rings series has been in development for over three years now, and we still know almost nothing about it. Unfortunately, after being plagued by pandemic shutdowns throughout 2020, the series has just hit another setback. Australian actor Tom Budge (Crash), who joined the cast early last year in an undisclosed role, has left the show effective immediately.
The actor broke the news via his Instagram account, announcing that Amazon has decided to recast his character after viewing the first few episodes filmed over the course of last year. Budge wrote a lengthy, diplomatic message notifying his fans of his departure and thanking the cast and crew of Lord of the Rings for their support during a “difficult and unusual experience.” Accompanying the message is a video clip of Johnny Cash performing “Ring of Fire” live on television. I’m not sure what this means beyond the obvious “Ring” connection, but considering the song is about the intensity of falling in love, perhaps Budge is trying to say he feels both thankful for his brief time in Middle Earth and burned by his sudden departure.
Hello loves, 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. And I sincerely thank the extraordinary cast and crew for their love, support and friendship over what has been a very difficult and unusual experience. Alas, some things just cannot be. Destiny my mother, I thank thee. x Tom
It’s still unclear what character Budge was playing, let alone who will be hired to replace him. We do know that Amazon’s series takes place during the Second Age of Tolkien’s universe, which is before the events of the films. So it’s likely Budge’s character will be unfamiliar to casual LOTR fans, either someone picked from the endless histories of Middle Earth or an entirely new creation dreamed up by the show’s writers. The Lord of the Rings is still set to premiere sometime this year, but it remains to be seen how much this casting shakeup affects that release window.