Amazon is going to develop a Lord of the Rings television series. There are no details yet, but my fervent wish is for it to be an adaptation of ‘The Silmarillion’, the history of the Elves and that most epic of epics. It’s not a novel, so I think the only way to do it is to treat it like a miniseries, with each season focusing on a specific storyline: the Ainulindalë or the creation of the world, which will also be our introduction to the Valar; the Quenta Silmarillion and that messed up Oath; the tragedy of Turin (talk about messed up!); and the redemption of Men and Elves through Eärendil.
Whether or not this happens though, Chloe and I have been busy drawing up our own dream cast for this Silmarillion miniseries. I feel that disclaimers are in order, because we only know about thirty actors and like only half of them (“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”) To my fellow Tolkienites and book purists, we hope you take this with a whole lot of humor, because this is meant to be in good fun. Please don’t send the Orcs after us!
The Ainulindalë, the creation of the World
The Valar – ‘the Angelic Powers’, the Divinities created by Eru (the One) before Creation itself and who participated in the making of Eä (the Universe) and thereafter dwelt in Middle-earth as Guardians of the World.
Manwe – the noblest of the Ainur and Lord of the Valar; Lord of Winds and friend of the Eagles | Ralph Fiennes
Varda – spouse of Manwe, revered by the Elves, created the Stars | Michelle Pfeiffer
Ulmo – the Lord of Waters, King of the Sea, second only to Manwe | Kevin McKidd (he’s already played a god of the Sea, why not own it?)
Aule – Lord of Material things and crafts, maker of the Dwarves | Idris Elba
Yavanna Kementári – spouse of Aule, second only to Varda, Queen of the Earth, her powers are connected to growth and life, her greatest accomplishment is the creation of the Two Trees, from which came the Sun and Moon | Jennifer Lopez
Mandos – more properly known as Námo, Master of Spirits, keeper of the Houses of the Dead and summoner of the spirits of the slain | Daniel Craig
Nienna – sister of Mandos, the Lady of Grief and Compassion, mourns for every wound that Arda (the world) has suffered, her greatest pupil was Olorin (Gandalf) | Halle Berry
Melkor – later named Morgoth, the Dark Enemy of the world, started out as powerful as Manwe but chose evil, basically Sauron times a million, similar to the fallen angel Lucifer | Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Melian – a Maia, an angelic being lesser than the Valar, fell in love with the Elf Elwe Thingol | Nicole Kidman
Olorin – Gandalf | Ian McKellen (always and forever)
The Eldar and the Quenta Silmarillion
Elwe – a badass Elf who falls in love with an actual Maia (Melian) and is renamed Thingol, father of Luthien | Mark Strong
Feanor – creator of the Silmarils, started the Oath that drives all his sons to war for the sake of his precious Silmarils, leads the Noldor to exile from the Blessed Realm back to Middle-earth to fight Morgoth, along the way leads the Kinslaying, which is the first instance of Elf killing Elf, basically because the other Elves wouldn’t lend their boats to him so he can fight Morgoth and disobey the Valar. Bit of an asshat | Michael Fassbender
Fingolfin – half-brother of Feanor, whose loyalty to his brother is misplaced and leads only to tragedy | Stuart Townsend (he lost the role of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings, so it would be nice to welcome him back to Middle-earth)
Finarfin – younger half-brother of Feanor, considered the wisest because he renounced his pride and chose to turn back from exile with Feanor and went back to the Blessed Realm, father of Galadriel | Joseph Fiennes
Beren and Luthien and the Children of Hurin
Beren – mortal Man who falls in love with the most beautiful being in all of creation (Luthien), cuts an actual Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown, also loses a hand because of said Silmaril | Richard Madden
Luthien – one half of the greatest love story in all of Middle-Earth, overpowers Morgoth through the power of her song, allowing her to save her beloved Beren from his prison and allowing him to get that wretched Silmaril; first of the Elves to actually die because of her choice to be with Beren | Gal Gadot
Dior – Beren and Luthien’s son, inherits the Silmaril, which because of that blasted Oath, leads to his own killing by the sons of Feanor | Hugh Dancy
Hurin – that poor, poor Man Morgoth hates so much that he curses him to sit on a high throne where he can see and hear everything Morgoth does, including all the incest that goes on in his family | Keanu Reeves (to us he has the perfect face of someone forced to watch his family implode from the curse)
Morwen – long-suffering wife of Hurin, who thankfully dies before she ever finds out what happened to her children | Emily Blunt
Turin – son of Hurin, that most tragic of Men, has major issues and bears the curse of Morgoth to his death | Christian Bale
Nienor – sister of Turin, but she doesn’t remember it because of the curse, actually marries him and conceives (!) and then after all this, the dragon Glaurung reminds her who she is, just so she can wallow in the absolute misery and despair of everything that happened | Kate Winslet
Huor – brother of Hurin, fought alongside the High King of the Noldor in the Fifth Battle and led the last stand of Men against the Enemy, described as fair-haired, but surely our chosen actor can dye his hair | Hugh Jackman
Tuor – great chieftain of Men, son of Huor, chosen as the messenger of the Vala Ulmo to warn the Kingdom of Gondolin about its impending destruction; only the second Man to marry an Elf, it is said that he is the only Mortal Man to be counted among the Elves | Jake Gyllenhaal
Idril – daughter of Turgon the High King of the Noldor (who in our minds is Sam Worthington), wife of Tuor, sailed with him to the Undying Lands | Jessica Chastain
Maeglin – Elf who secretly pines for Idril who is his cousin, betrays the location of the secret kingdom of Gondolin to Morgoth | Chris Pine (it’s such a juicy role of the villainous traitor and we can imagine Pine rocking it)
The love triangle of Gondolin
Glorfindel – badass Elf who kills a Balrog defending the escapees from Gondolin but dies doing so; because of his badassery is sent back to Middle-Earth and lives in Rivendell with Elrond, he’s the one who saves Frodo from the Nazgul by the river, not Arwen | Alexander Skarsgård
Eärendil – The Mariner, also called The Blessed because he actually sails into the Blessed Realm to intercede on behalf of Elves and Men in their fight against Morgoth, bringing with him the holy Silmaril, and essentially becomes a Star (!), father of Elrond | Diego Boneta
Elwing – daughter of Dior, granddaughter of Luthien, keeper of the Silmaril, marries Eärendil and helps him sail to the Blessed Realm to ask the Valar’s help for Middle-Earth | Saoirse Ronan
Our imaginary cast is very limited, so we only have enough for the Quenta Silmarillion. It will take probably another night of nonsense discussion to come up with our dream cast for the Akallabêth or the downfall of Numenor and Aragorn’s ancestors.
So we’ll let the esteemed Professor close things out:
Here ends the Silmarillion; and if it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and If any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.