Everything We Know

Everything We Know About The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2

Who's gone, who's returning, where it's set, and when we expect the series to return.

by | March 20, 2023 | Comments

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

(Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video)

The dust may still be settling from Mount Doom’s eruption in the first season of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but the journey is only beginning for the Free Peoples of Middle-earth and their implacable Enemy. Season 2 is already filming, bringing with it new stories, new characters, and new talent.

Of course, the program’s return may still be off in the distance, but that doesn’t mean we’re sightless in the Barrow-downs. Let’s take a look at what we know about the series’s return so far.

One Journey Has Ended, Another Begins

Daniel Weyman (The Stranger) in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

(Photo by Ben Rothstein/Prime Video)

The first season resolved its key question — where is Sauron (Charlie Vickers)? — but a few remain and, presumably, will form the bulk of season 2’s story. Chief among them: the identity of the Stranger (Daniel Weyman, pictured above). Although from the series and our discussion with Weyman, it is fairly clear he is a Maia spirit from Valinor — but which one? While some form of Gandalf (or Olórin as he is known in the Undying Lands) is the most popular guess, there are four other known Maiar who journey to Middle-earth in its Third Age, becoming the Istari. He could be any or none of them.

No matter the answer, the search for a solution will lead him and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) to the East of Middle-earth, a land rarely chronicled by author J.R.R. Tolkien, but known for being Sauron’s refuge whenever he is defeated. The Men there are said to be devoted to him and, according to the season 1 finale, it is where the constellation burned into The Stranger’s mind is visible in the night’s sky.

Back in more familiar regions, the remaining Rings of Power still need to be forged and candidates to bear them must also appear. The Seven and the Nine are particularly interesting as Sauron directly aids Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) in their making. Will the Dark Lord be able to pull off a second ruse to get close to the great Elven craftsman?

On a similar front, will Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) tell the other Elf-lords just how close Sauron got to them? Will she face another banishment (of sorts) or will her journey also change shape as the danger becomes clearer?

One thing we’re more sure of: the friendship between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Khazad-Dûm will be established. Although that may take the bulk of the season considering how little King Durin III (Peter Mullan) thinks of his neighbors.

And away in the West, the various tensions in Númenor will likely boil over as the death of the king and the blinding of Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) offer Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) a unique opportunity.

Enter the Region of Rhûn

Lord of the Rings series map (Amazon Prime Video)

(Photo by Prime Video)

If the Stranger and Nori reach the East as quickly as they reached Greenwood the Great, the second season will soon find them in Rhûn. As mentioned, it never prominently features in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, but we know a few things about it. Geographically, it is as diverse as the west of Middle-earth, with a great sea, mountains, and arable land. It is chiefly the domain of Men loyal to Morgoth and his successor, but its various peoples often squabble among themselves when not united in common purpose by a Dark Lord.

The region is also home to several Dwarf clans, although it is unclear how involved they will be in events, although we know members of those clans will join their western cousins to battle against the Orcs in the Third Age. For the moment, though, they may only be legends among the Easterling Men.

Also of note, Rhûn is closer to the places where Elves and Men first awoke in the Elder Days. It is unclear if the Easterlings will use this as some sort of marker of purity or if Morgoth and Sauron weaved it into their lies, but it is possible The Stranger and Nori will encounter some sort of talk of “First Men” in their travels.

And for those attempting to tie The Stranger to one of the Blue Wizards, Rhûn is the region where the two lesser known Istari did most of their work.

Some Familiar People Return

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - 108

(Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video)

A large portion of the cast returns for the second season, chief among them Weyman and Kavenagh. But the Elven contingent — Clark, Edwards, Robert Aramayo as Elrond, Benjamin Walker as High King Gil-galad, and Ismael Cruz Cordova as Arondir — will also be back.

The latter Elf, still united with Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin), will be part of group settled in the old Númenórean outpost of Pelargir. Presumably, their bonds will be tested as Númenor sends renewed military strength into the region.

Speaking of Númenor, expect to see Addai-Robinson, Gravelle, Lloyd Owen as Elendil, Ema Horvath as Eärien, and Leon Wadham as Kemen return. Although, the question mark next to Maxim Baldry’s Isildur remains. Missing since episode 7 of the first season, it is possible he could sit out the entire second year before returning a little wiser and little less brash. Granted, readers of The Lord of the Rings know his brashness never completely leaves him.

Also expect to see the established Dwarves, Durin III, his son Durin (Owain Arthur), and his wife Disa (Sophia Nomvete) return as well. There are many things to delve in Khazad-Dûm and at least one of these characters may end up possessing a Ring of Power before too long.

One mystery — at least at this point — surrounds the other Harfoots. With Nori off in the East, it is unclear if Dylan Smith (Largo), Sara Zwangobani (Marigold), and Megan Richards (Poppy) will return to continue their storylines.

New Faces in Middle-earth

(Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video)

In early December 2022, Amazon revealed a set of new cast members joining the series for season 2. The most surprising: Peaky BlindersSam Hazeldine will replace Joseph Mawle as Adar, the broken Elf Orc leader who claimed to mortally wound Sauron, but nonetheless went forward with the plan to convert the Southlands into Mordor. Mawle later said on Twitter, “I loved my time exploring middle earth and diving into Tolkien’s mythology … Though as an actor it remains my wish, my job description to explore new characters and worlds.”

It is unclear if the new Adar will welcome Sauron into the land of shadows or fight him for supremacy.

Other new cast include Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Gabriel Akuwudike, Yasen ‘Zates’ Atour, Stuart Bowman, Gavi Singh Chera, William ChubbBen Daniels, Kevin Eldon, Will Keen, Amelia Kenworthy, Selina Lo, Calam Lynch, Nia Towle, and Nicholas Woodeson. Amazon did not provide specific roles for the actors, but we might expect to see another Blue Wizard — if The Stranger turns out to be one himself — and perhaps Galadriel’s missing husband, Celeborn, added to the cast. The new cast members also could be people Nori and the Stranger encounter in Rhun or a group of settlers Bronwyn and the others find in Pelargir. Also, Elendil’s other son, Anárion, will have to make his presence known at some point.

In March 2023, Amazon announced three new additions to the ensemble: Game of Thrones veteran Ciarán HindsPenny Dreadful’s Rory Kinnear, and The Man Who Fell To Earth’s Tanya Moodie. Each is booked for “recurring” but as yet unrevealed roles.

Behind the Tale

Showrunners J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay return alongside executive producers Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, and Gennifer Hutchison. According to Payne and McKay, much of season 2 was plotted out before the first season finished post-production, so their continued stewardship is hardly surprising.

Additional crew includes co-executive producer Charlotte Brändström, producers Kate Hazell and Helen Shang, and co-producers Andrew Lee, Matthew Penry-Davey, and Clare Buxton. Beyond serving as a co-executive producer, Brändström will also direct four of the season 2 episodes. She directed episode 6  (“Udûn”) and episode 7 (“The Eye”) of the first season. Joining her on the directorial team are Sanaa Hamri and Louise Hooper; each helming two episodes apiece. Hamri directed episodes of Shameless, Rectify, Nashville, Elementary, Glee, and season 2 episodes of Amazon’s The Wheel of Time. Hooper, meanwhile, is known for directing episodes of The SandmanThe WitcherInside No. 9, and the the 4-part limited series Flesh and Blood.

When Does the Journey Resume?

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - 104

(Photo by Prime Video)

As palantíri cannot actually tell the future, it is unclear when The Rings of Power will return, but the best guess for all of the recent fantasy shows is a two-year gap to both shoot the season and complete all the complicated effects work, but as season 2 is in production, the countdown clock is already ticking.

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