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Rings of Power showrunners didn't want season 1 to be "The Sauron Show"

Total Film logo Total Film 10/5/2022 Emily Garbutt
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The mystery of Sauron's identity may hang heavy over The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but the series' showrunners didn't want it to dominate the story before we got to know the rest of Middle-earth first. 

"It would be very tempting to make the first season of this show The Sauron Show, very villain-centric," co-showrunner Patrick McKay told The Hollywood Reporter. "But we wanted that level of evil and complexity of evil to emerge out of a world that you’re invested in – not because evil is threatening it immediately. We wanted you to fall in love again with Middle-earth. We wanted you to understand and relate to the struggles that each of these characters are having before we test them in a way they’ve never been tested before."

There's been plenty of speculation that Sauron might be hiding in plain sight in the show, with theories surrounding characters from Halbrand to Adar – and that's exactly what the showrunners were hoping to see. "It’s another Tolkien thing where when a shadow spreads – which is part of what is happening in our show – it affects everyone’s relationships," added co-showrunner J.D. Payne. 

"Even Frodo and Sam. They’re the best friends in all of Middle-earth, yet they started to mistrust each other because that’s a manifestation of that shadow. So having an audience suspect this person or that person could be Sauron is drawing them into that thing where the shadow is overcoming all of us and making us suspicious of each other."

Indeed, Payne previously told us that when Sauron does return, "It might be in a way people aren't expecting." The character did briefly appear in the show's prologue, but he was concealed by heavy armor.

New episodes of The Rings of Power arrive on Prime Video every Friday. Make sure you never miss an episode with our Rings of Power release schedule

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