WARNING: Contains spoilers for Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season one finale
Last Friday, Prime Video released the season one finale for its epic The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Touted as one of the biggest and most ambitious television series ever attempted, the show’s inaugural season introduced audiences to a version of Tolkien’s Middle-earth set thousands of years before the events depicted in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Capping off a visually stunning and action-packed season, The Rings of Power’s series finale also dropped some startling reveals and provided answers to mysteries that had slowly been brewing over the course of the show’s previous episodes. Off the back of the season’s final episode, we sat in on a post-season press conference with series creators and showrunners Patrick McKay and JD Payne and learned what fans can begin looking forward to in season two.
While season one spent a lot of time setting up the world and characters of the Second Age, McKay suggests that the show’s second season will spend a lot more time deep diving into some of the established events from Tolkien’s original lore.
“I will say,” McKay explains, “the first season is a reintroduction of Middle-earth, and exploring all of these worlds, these cultures, these characters, each of their struggles, each of their journeys. It is the origin of Mordor, that’s all part of that. And it is the return of great and powerful evil to Middle-earth.
“Now you have all those plates spinning, which tees us up for these great canonical stories that Tolkien left us, which you just see the very beginnings of at the end of the first season. But next season, we’re going to go much further into the lore and much further into the mythos.”
Payne also spoke about what fans can expect from the show moving forward. “We are now able to go to a place where some of the canonical events that I think people are really excited about seeing in the Second Age… the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the fall of Númenor and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Season two, we’re able to really sort of sink our teeth into some of those canonical events that I think people are really excited to see.”
One of the great reveals from the season one finale was the revelation that Charlie Vickers’ Halbrand was, in fact, secretly Sauron in disguise the entire time. Now that Sauron has finally revealed himself, fans can also expect to see a lot more of the Dark Lord moving forward.
“The first season is about evil emerging,” McKay says, “from the shadows in a way. The second season, evil has emerged and is active and has a plan. And, you know, we’re certainly having Sauron as a chess piece on the board.”
Yet the cast of characters audiences began to get introduced to throughout season one will not be the only ones returning to Amazon’s Middle-earth. The showrunners have also teased the addition of one of Tolkien’s more prominent figures, the elf Círdan who fought against both Morgoth and Sauron in the First and Second Ages, and would eventually be the one to gift the Elvish ring Narya to Gandalf.
“We have both new and canon characters,” McKay says of the second season. “We’ve announced that Círdan, one of the oldest, wisest elves in Middle-earth, is going to be coming into season two. But then we also have new non-canon characters who also may be joining the adventure.”
And speaking of Gandalf, the pair also spent some time artfully dodging whether the famous “always follow your nose” line uttered in the finale did indeed confirm that Daniel Weyman’s Stranger was the fan-favourite grey wizard.
“I will say,“ McKay says, “certainly those words and a few other things he does have resonances with what we associate with Gandalf. But also certain things about him have resonances with other wizards. We know that Saruman is said to have journeyed to the east. We know the blue wizards are said to have gone East. We know that, you know, Saruman, and potentially one of the blue wizards from the lore struggled with darkness and temptation. And we seem to see that in his character as well. So exactly who he is, and his journey of self-discovery, will continue well into season two, and we hope audiences are excited to see it.”
“So we want to take you on a journey with him,” Payne chimes in. “You know, we want you to be with him. And at this point, that name wouldn’t really mean anything to him, you need to learn who he is. So whatever the name is, it will eventually come at the time when the Stranger is ready to really understand more about his own identity.”
At present, McKay and Payne are busily overseeing filming on season two, which has now relocated from New Zealand to England. With production having only just gotten underway, it is not yet clear when audiences can expect to see season two hit Prime Video but it likely will not be until the end of 2023 at the earliest, or more likely, sometime in 2024. In the interim, all eight episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season one are now streaming on Prime Video.
Lead image: Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo