‘Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power’ season 2 gets first trailer — and the best thing I can say is that it looks fine

Charlie Vickers as Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Prepare yourselves for the return of the "Rings." Amazon unveiled a release date, teaser trailer and story description for the upcoming "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" season 2 today (May 14) at its inaugural upfront presentation for advertisers. 

"The Rings of Power" season 2 trailer previews the devastating rise of Sauron, to the peril of all in Middle-earth. Season 2 will premiere on Prime Video on Thursday, August 29, with episodes airing weekly thereafter.

The trailer begins with the warning that "an evil, ancient and powerful, has returned!" From there, elves Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo) wield their swords in a tense face-off against unknown attackers. Later, Galadriel realizes that Sauron has "been here among us all along" — hidden in the guise of Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). Now, the dark lord is reclaiming his identity and pursuing power, at all costs. 

Prime Video's official description reads:

"In Season Two of 'The Rings of Power,' Sauron has returned. Cast out by Galadriel, without army or ally, the rising Dark Lord must now rely on his own cunning to rebuild his strength and oversee the creation of the Rings of Power, which will allow him to bind all the peoples of Middle-earth to his sinister will. Building on Season One’s epic scope and ambition, the new season plunges even its most beloved and vulnerable characters into a rising tide of darkness, challenging each to find their place in a world that is increasingly on the brink of calamity. Elves and dwarves, orcs and men, wizards and Harfoots… as friendships are strained and kingdoms begin to fracture, the forces of good will struggle ever more valiantly to hold on to what matters to them most of all… each other.”

Amazon famously paid $250 million just on the rights to adapt some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work and has spent millions more on production. "The Rings of Power" is set during the Second Age, thousands of years before either of Peter Jackson’s film trilogies.

"The Rings of Power" debuted Sept. 1, 2022 and the first season was watched by over 100 million viewers globally by the end of that year, making it Prime Video's most-watched series ever.

This season 2 news comes days after details were revealed about the next "Lord of the Rings movie, "The Hunt for Gollum," which is also set during Tolkien’s Second Age. 

'Rings of Power' season 2 trailer looks ... fine?

Considering how much Amazon has spent on "Rings of Power," they're probably hoping for a more positive reaction than my take — which is, "this is fine." 

Season 1 generated responses from lukewarm to outright loathing. It's got 83% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and a dismal 38% audience score. As we noted in our review at the time, the show did world-building well. But it had a harder time building characters. "Rings of Power" clearly wanted to make the Harfoots as likable as Hobbits, but Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) was no Frodo or Sam. And her connection to the rest of the story seemed tenuous. Ditto for the forbidden romance between elf soldier Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and human healer (Nazanin Boniadi). 

Let's hope season 2 keeps its excellent production values while upping the emotional stakes. With Sauron emerging from hiding and seeking ultimate power, the chances are good.

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.