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'Rings of Power' Season 2 Will Introduce an Unholy Amount of New Cast Members

Esquire 3/20/2023 Adrienne Westenfeld

When it comes to Rings of Power’s next move, the question isn’t, “Will Rings of Power get a Season Two?” but,“When will Rings of Power get a Season Two?” You see, per the particularities of Prime Video’s deal with the J.R.R. Tolkien estate, the streamer could only purchase these adaptation rights if they committed to five seasons of television. “They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas,” co-showrunner J.D. Payne said of the estate. “There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until Season Five. We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be.”

Prime Video will be in the Rings of Power business for years to come—and with Season One officially at an end, viewers are already looking ahead to Season Two. Luckily, filming on the eight-episode season began in London this October. Read on for everything we know about what’s next for Rings of Power.

What Could Happen in Rings of Power Season Two?

So far, just one detail is confirmed: Prime Video has announced that Círdan, one of the oldest and wisest of the elves, will join the story during Season Two. Although the role has yet to be cast, Círdan has an important part to play in Middle-earth’s history. During the Second Age, Círdan and his people founded the Grey Havens, where they built ships that carried elves to the Undying Lands. Blessed with the gift of foresight, Círdan wore the Elven ring Narya, fought alongside High King Gil-galad in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, and ruled over the Grey Havens through the Third and Fourth Ages.

As for where else the story will go, the showrunners offered some clues in a new interview with Esquire. For Galadriel, who's been deceived and wooed by Sauron, darkness lies ahead. "I think there has to be a reckoning," Payne told Esquire. "Even knowing that Sauron was partially involved in the science behind the making of the rings, we see her give the go-ahead to make the rings anyway. She also has to bear some responsibility; 'I empowered the Dark Lord. I saved his life on a raft. I was party to him coming from obscurity to head an army.' That’s a lot she has to wrestle with and be accountable for. I think we can expect to see her having to pick up those threads and see how those decisions impact her various relationships." McKay noted that Elrond has discovered evidence of Galadriel hiding information from him, adding, "Her facing the consequences of that has not ended yet."

We already know of a major new character introduction—and it's not Sauron. © Courtesy We already know of a major new character introduction—and it's not Sauron.

Speaking of Galadriel—remember in Episode Seven when she off-handedly mentions that she was once married? Sounds like we haven't seen the last of that tidbit, either. "As far as Celeborn goes, we wanted to let people know that this is a part of her that could become important later on," Payne told Esquire. "We didn't take him off the board and say he's dead. She says, 'I never saw him again' and we leave it as an ellipsis. But if and when that comes back, that would be like a freight train crashing into her, if the love of her life is still around. Now that we've spread the foundation of her relationships with Sauron, Elrond, and even Gil-Galad, we have the opportunity in future seasons to see how other relationships, maybe including Celeborn, will continue to show other sides of her."

And with Sauron and the rings of power officially in play, the show is off to the races. "Obviously Sauron is now a chess piece on the board," McKay told Esquire. "Now that he’s a chess piece on the board, there are a lot of dominoes that start to fall. The ring poem is in a song at the end of the eighth episode sung by Fiona Apple and composed by Bear McCreary. Seven rings, nine rings, one ring—each batch could potentially be a new turn in the story and a new turn in Sauron's development through the Second Age. Right there in the eighth episode, there's some hints as to where we might go next." Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Payne teased a new focus on Sauron in Season Two. "Season One opens with: Who is Galadriel? Where did she come from? What did she suffer? Why is she driven?" he said. "We’re doing the same thing with Sauron in Season Two. We’ll fill in all the missing pieces."

Charlie Vickers, who plays Sauron, teased the juicy arc that lies ahead for his character. "We know Sauron takes on different shapes in this era," Vickers said. "All I can say is maybe to that. Maybe we're going to do those things. I 'm incredibly excited to explore him doing these things that we know he does. He has a shitload of rings to make, and he gets to go to Númenor, and he orchestrates the downfall of Númenor. Then he has to take another form and go and fight in the Battle of the Last Alliance. [But] the showrunners have a really specific plan, and I don't know their plans as to how it'll unfold, but I loved playing him in this repentance stage. Whether the repentance is genuine or not is open to interpretation."

In Season Two, Sauron seemingly has a lot of amends to make. He'll have to confront Adar, the corrupted elf who believes he killed Sauron, in a showdown for rulership of Mordor. He'll also have a score to settle with Galadriel, who won't just allow him to go gently into that good night after his grand deceptions. We're guessing that Sauron's repentance isn't all that genuine—so it's safe to expect some blood and violence next season.

Elsewhere in Middle-earth, we last saw Nori and The Stranger heading out for the faraway land of Rhûn in search of information about his origins. Markella Kavanaugh, who plays Nori, tells Inverse that her character is on a private journey of her own: “There’s a greater purpose she feels for herself, and potentially for the Harfoots, to find a better quality of life, and to help them find a solid home. I think she’s got that in the back of her mind. It’s in the back of my mind as well.” Sounds an awful lot like Nori is searching for the Shire, doesn't it? Rings of Power could be making moves to explain how the nomadic Harfoots eventually evolved into homebody hobbits.

Meanwhile, in Khazad-dûm, we'll likely see Prince Durin suffering the fallout of his conflict with his father, King Durin. But as Durin and Disa discussed in Episode Seven, not even the will of the king will stop them from mining for mithril. After all, canonically speaking, we've only seen the beginning of mithril's usefulness—there's still so much partnership to come for the elves of Eregion and the dwarves of Khazad-dûm, with elven smith Celebrimbor and dwarven smith Narvi set to collaborate on the West Gate of Moria (you may recall it from Fellowship of the Ring—remember those glowing doors requiring the fellowship to "speak, friend, and enter"?). No doubt there's more in store for cross-cultural besties Elrond and Durin, but their respective peoples are in for a real ride: the fall of Eregion lies ahead, along with the sundering of friendly relations between elves and dwarves. Somewhere along the way, this crew will have to find time to forge the rest of the rings, too. No pressure! New on-set photos of an Elven town under construction have fans speculating that this set may be Eregion, fanning the flames of these suspicions about where the story will head in Season Two.

Who Will Star in Rings of Power Season Two?

A new fellowship has been announced for Season Two, and it just keeps on growing. First, Amazon announced seven new actors joining the cast in recurring roles. Those newbies include Gabriel Akuwudike, Yasen ‘Zates’ Atour, Ben Daniels, Amelia Kenworthy, Nia Towle, Nicholas Woodeson, and Sam Hazeldine. Nothing is known about their characters, except for Hazeldine, who will play Season One baddie Adar. Yes, you heard me right—Adar has been recast. When the casting news was first announced, Prime Video offered no explanation for the departure of Joseph Mawle, who played the character during Season One. Mawle cleared things up with a heartfelt tweet suggesting that he's moving onto other projects, saying, "As an actor it remains my wish, my job description to explore new characters and worlds."

Then, Amazon announced another new batch of recurring actors joining the cast. This time, it was eight new faces, including Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Stuart Bowman, Gavi Singh Chera, William Chubb, Kevin Eldon, Will Keen, Selina Lo, and Calam Lynch. Could any of these newbies be playing Círdan or Celeborn? It's too soon to say, but given what Prime Video has hinted about Celeborn and outright confirmed about Círdan, it seems like a promising bet. This fellowship of newbies could also include Glorfindel, a famed elven hero who fought in the fall of Gondolin and died in battle against a Balrog, only to be reincarnated and sent back to Middle-earth during the Second Age.

Amazon also announced that those 15 (!) new actors will also be joined by Ciarán Hinds (Belfast), Rory Kinnear (Men) and Tanya Moodie (Empire of Light). The three new additions also arrive with undisclosed roles. (Though Ciarán playing a character named Círdan would be pretty spot-on.) Eventually, it would be exciting to learn who all these new characters are going to play.

But please, Amazon, if you can hear me, when will you confirm casting details about the people we already know and love? It doesn't seem as if all of our favorite characters are confirmed to return for Season Two. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ismael Cruz Córdova (who plays Arondir) revealed that his future with Rings of Power is still unknown. "In terms of where the story is going, I have very few details about who’s coming back or not coming back or how they’re coming back," the actor said. "So this is an open-ended question because I really don’t have that much information. But if I do come back, I will feel more centered or grounded in what Arondir is and much more attached."

Córdova's comments raise questions about the fate of the entire cast. Is it possible that some characters won't return? Characters with major cliffhangers seem to be a sure bet, like Galadriel and Sauron, but as for characters in more settled places, like Bronwyn and Arondir, they could be shuffled offstage anytime. Moreover, new characters like Bronwyn and Arondir have no canonical future, so it's that much easier to write them out. No one would miss dirtbag Theo, but what would we do without Best Stunt Work king Arondir?

Who's on the Creative Team?

Payne and McKay are returning, of course, and they're calling in reinforcements. Prime Video has announced the three directors who will be at the helm during Season Two: Charlotte Brändström, Sanaa Hamri, and Louise Hooper. Brändström, who directed Season One's "Udûn" and "The Eye," will direct four episodes and also serve as co-executive producer for Season Two. Hamri and Hooper, for their part, both bring fantasy street cred to the table: Hamri is fresh off directing and executive producing The Wheel of Time, while Hooper's credits include The Sandman and The Witcher.

When Will Rings of Power Season Two Come Out?

Though no release date has been specified just yet, it seems that Prime Video is fast-tracking production. “The production team is working on Season Two now,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “We’re going to get that out into the world as soon as we can. We want the shortest time possible between seasons, but we want to keep the bar just as high. So it’ll take what it takes. But there’s been some urgency around moving quickly, which is why these guys have been writing all through their hiatus. We’re moving fast.” But "fast" means something different in Tolkien time, with Payne and McKay cautioning that it may be "another couple of years" before Rings of Power returns to our televisions.

In an interview with Collider, Vernon Sanders, Co-Head of Television at Amazon Studios, offered a bit more specificity. "I don’t know that I can say… It would be amazing if we could get Season Two out within a year of Season One’s release," Sanders said. "It may take a smidge longer than that, but we're doing everything we can, and we're going to get better and faster as we go." Sanders also touched on Season Three, saying, "There have been some conversations about Season Three, and we are making some investments to make sure that we are ready for Season Three. We are committed to JD and Patrick's vision for this, and I 'm confident that we'll be making many more seasons to come, but we'll announce Season Three when we're ready, even as we continue to put stakes in the ground for that. We're very excited about our future with this one."

Watch this space for updates—we’ll continue to expand the story as we learn more.

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