Rings of Power tells the story of Middle-earth during the Second Age – thousands of years before actions took place in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. With season two now being teased, its release date, the cast, plot, and where to watch it when it comes out.

McKay and J.D. Payne scoured the appendices to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in order to come up with a plot for the show that would neither repeat nor continue what had happened in Jackson’s trilogy. The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power tells the story of Middle-earth during the time when the infamous rings to rule all have not even been made, and follows the story of good and evil fighting again to obtain power.

The most expensive TV show ever made – the Rings of Power TV adaptation cost Amazon about $715 million and was renewed not just for a second chapter, but for a third and fourth, and fifth season too. What is there left to discover in the history of the Middle-earth?

The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power cast

The cast of the Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power may not make you starstruck by loud names, but their performance is surely one of the reasons critics loved Rings of Power.

Morfydd Clark

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Morfydd Clark is a Welsh actress born in Sweden. She has made her breakthrough in a leading role in Rose Glass’ psychological horror Saint Maud (2019) produced by A24. Clark is currently, of course, most well known for her role as younger Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, taking over from Cate Blanchett.

During the Second Age, Galadriel is at a crossroads in her life as both a general of the Elven army and a key political figure within Elven society. Despite winning major victories in the past, Galadriel is haunted by the feeling that evil is stirring in Middle Earth once again; leading to feelings of paranoia, skepticism of her elders, and suspicions of other races…Albeit for good reason.

Interestingly, the showrunners used a letter penned by Tolkien when Galadriel was described as being of “Amazon disposition” to develop her character in the Rings of Power TV series. Clark also claimed that her fluency in Welsh made it easier for her to remember Galadriel’s lines of dialogue when speaking Elvish.

Charlie Vickers

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power World Premiere
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Charlie Vickers is an Australian actor. You may remember him from the historical drama Medici (2018), where he played the recurring role of Guglielmo de’Pazzi in the second season of the show. In Rings of Power, Vickers played Halbrand, a reluctant helper to Galadriel after the two found themselves cast adrift at sea.

After building a sense of trust with Galadriel and revealing himself to be from a lineage of Southland Kings; in a shocking twist of fate, Halbrand confesses that he is actually the reborn Dark Lord Sauron himself in the season finale – expect to see much more of him in season two.

Nazanin Boniadi

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Nazanin Boniadi played Bronwyn, a human healer in Rings of Power. Boniadi is also recognized for playing Fara Sherazi in Homeland (2011-2020) and for her role in Hotel Mumbai (2018). Boniadi was born in Iran, but grew up in London and attended university in the U.S.

Bronwyn plays a big part in investigating the orcs’ return in the Rings of Power’s first season, falling in love with elf Arondir while working alongside him and leading her people in a rebellion against the growing threat. She also has a teenage son called Theo, who may have been at fault in the orcs’ initial return, but rallied in the season 1 finale and was ultimately gifted a Numenorian sword by Galadriel.

Ismael Cruz Córdova

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Ismael Cruz Cordova was born and raised in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico and is living in currently living in New York. In his interview with Deadline, the actor revealed that The Lord of the Rings franchise inspired him to go into filmmaking, and he “fought tooth and nail” for the role of forest elf soldier Arondir. Cruz Córdova also participated in putting forward ideas to the showrunners about the visualization of Middle-earth.

In season 1 of Rings of Power, Arondir falls for and engages in the ‘forbidden love’ between humans and Elves with healer Bronwyn; their relationship is derived from similar stories from Tolkien’s original work including the love story of Beren and Luthien, and later Aragorn and Arwen.

Robert Aramayo

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Robert Aramayo is an English actor. He secured a role in HBO’s Game of Thrones and played young Eddard Stark from 2016 to 2017, and can also be recognized by his roles in Netflix’s miniseries Behind Her Eyes (2021) and Sergeant Major Atkins in The King’s Man (2021).

In The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, Aramayo plays young Elrond, who arguably has one of the more captivating storylines in the first season out of all the characters. From revelations with Galadriel and Gil-galad to his brotherly bonding session with Durin, Elrond starts season 1 as optimistic and eager to help support the people of Middle Earth; however, he turns cold and isolated as the series progresses.

Other actors from Rings of Power season 1 who are likely to return

It was revealed in Collider that new confirmed actors to join in season two are Ciarán Hinds (Belfast), Tanya Moodie (Empire of Light), and Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful).

Also joining the cast in season 2 are Stuart Bowman, Ben Daniels, Kevin Eldon, Sam Hazeldine, Will Keen, Selina Lo, Calam Lynch, and Nicholas Woodeson.

The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power plot explained

The Rings of Power TV series is set thousands of years before the events depicted in the original trilogy during the Second Age of Middle Earth as the Dark Lord Sauron prepares to make his grand return to the continent.

Although nothing particular is revealed about the plot of the second season of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, some things about the future season can be deduced from the first season’s ending and from the information that we know from the original The Lord of the Rings.

Season one introduced the multiple storylines, explored the lore, and got viewers familiar with the characters that they are going to root for in the future. In the second season, after Sauron’s true face was revealed, everything is going to unravel.

While in the first season, Galadriel spent her time searching and proving that Sauron is back, in the future seasons she may finally be able to avenge her brother, who was killed by werewolves ruled by Sauron, and stop the evil from spreading.

However, the second season will also focus on the three newly-forged Rings of Power themselves. In the season 1 finale, Galadriel decides not to tell Celebrimbor and Elrond that Sauron has returned in the form of Halbrand, although the latter was able to deduce this himself before the credits rolled. Unfortunately, the three Rings of Power are now existing in Middle Earth and with their creation, the wheels of Middle Earth’s destruction have been set in motion.

The tension between the multiple folks of Middle-earth: humans, elves, dwarves, and Harfoots (ancestors of hobbits) will also perhaps grow and shape upcoming seasons. Considering that the now-displaced human Southland population found their ‘true king’ only to have him revealed to be their ultimate enemy, there is a good chance that season 2 of Rings of Power will explore the power vacuum that has been left as the territory of Mordor continues expanding westward.

The Balrog roars with fire and shadow forming from its body
Left: The Rings of Power/New Line/Amazon Studios/Prime Video YouTube channel.

Is The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power canon?

Facing criticism for many reasons like why is Sauron human, why elves have short hair, why the timeline is messed up, and so on, the obvious question comes: is The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power canon?

It may seem that the show is less complacent with the narrative that Tolkien introduced in his book, in comparison to the movie trilogy, but this choice can actually be justified.

Amazon’s deal with the Tolkien estate, when they got the rights to film (which cost them around $215 million), was that they would not make a continuation to The Hobbit. So, the showrunners had to improvise, and they did so by digging into appendices of Tolkien’s book and fishing out the context of the Second Age that they eventually described in the show. In order to fill in the gaps, they had to introduce characters and storylines that were not originally in the books.

Where the show is canon, is in the pacing and tone of it. Season one of the show does not hurry anywhere: it gives a good impression of what the main characters are like, and what the current political situation in Middle-earth is like, although the creators of the show had to compress the timeline and introduce characters like Isildur earlier.

McKay explained: “What was important to the Tolkien estate was the principle of the narrative flow and the sequence of events, not the dates. <…> Does it matter if a hundred or 500 years passed between those events? No.”

How many episodes are in Rings of Power seasons 1 and 2?

The Lord Of The Rings: Rings Of Power Season 2 will have eight episodes altogether, just like the first season of Rings of Power and as confirmed by Deadline.

Whilst we are still waiting for news on the release format, season 2 is expected to follow a similar pattern from the first broadcast; releasing two episodes on its premiere, followed by weekly episodes every Friday for the subsequent seven weeks.

The new season will also see Charlotte Brändström taking over as the lead director in an all-female directing team. Brändström was the only female director in season 1 of Rings of Power and was in charge of episode 6 ‘Udun’ – which remains the highest-rated episode of the series so far on IMDB.

Is there a release date for Rings of Power season 2?

Season 1 of the Rings of Power series premiered via Amazon Prime Video on September 1, 2022.

Shooting for the second season began in October 2022, and Vernon Sanders, the head of Amazon Studio, reassured that production for the new season is running smoother than in season one; although the premiere would still be “another couple [of] years” away.

Vernon Sanders further elaborated that the series would not be returning by the end of 2023:

“I don’t know that I can say… It would be amazing if we could get Season 2 out within a year of Season 1’s release. 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. Certainly, the production, what we’ve learned in Season 1, has taught us things that we’re applying in Season 2, and so far we set a goal for ourselves of when we want that show to be released, and we are on track and on plan.”

Inside sources have recently shared that the eight-episode season is now expected to premiere sometime in 2024 on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service, which is in line with a targeted 24-month production cycle.

Thankfully, Variety also recently reported that production on season 2 wrapped up just before the SAG-AFTRA strike went into effect, meaning that there shouldn’t be any lengthy delays to the series like many other big budget TV shows currently being impacted.

Galadriel and Theo walking in ash in The Rings of Power
© 2010-2022 Amazon.com, Inc.

Where to watch Rings of Power season 2

Luckily, The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power is available for both U.S. and UK viewers via Amazon Prime Video.

Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power debuted in over 240 countries and territories worldwide. Across various data tracking websites, the series was within the top three most-watched and most-talked-about shows around the world during its broadcast.

Where was Rings of Power filmed?

The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power was filmed at the Kumeu Film Studios and the Auckland Film Studios in New Zealand, the country hosted the productions of both Peter Jackson’s original film trilogy and The Hobbit movies.

Speaking on the filming locations, executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay shared how “As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff.”

“And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

Is there a trailer for Rings of Power season 2?

There isn’t a trailer out just yet for The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, but expect to see it soon since filming wrapped up in May 2023! To prepare for the upcoming season 2 trailer, check out the Rings of Power Season one finale trailer to familiarise yourself with what went down at the end.

This article for Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power will be kept up to date with all current news as it is revealed so don’t forget to come back for all the most recent updates.

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