'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' season 2 release date, trailer, cast and more

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

After setting a record as the most expensive television show ever made, Amazon Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is set to return for a second, presumably equally expensive, season. The series set in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" — but not based directly on any of his novels — will debut its eight-episode second season in August, further exploring the world of Middle-earth in a period thousands of years before the events of Tolkien's books.

The evil wizard Sauron (Charlie Vickers) will continue his rise to power, while the elves Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo), both familiar from later "Lord of the Rings" stories, will continue their efforts to oppose him. 

Although the first season received a mixed response from both critics and viewers, it still stands as Prime Video's most-watched series, and anticipation is high for the next installment. Plus, given how much money Amazon has sunk into "The Rings of Power," it's not like they're going to give up their efforts to turn it into a phenomenon.

Will the second season catch the zeitgeist in a way that the first season didn't? Here's everything we know so far about "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" season 2.

'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' season 2 release date

As announced at Amazon's first-ever upfront presentation for advertisers in May, "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" season 2 will premiere on August 29, almost exactly two years after the premiere of the first season. The first three episodes of the eight-episode season will be available that day, with the remaining five episodes dropping weekly through October 3. 

That's an additional premiere episode compared to the first season, which debuted only two episodes in its first week. It's possible that Amazon wants a stronger hook to get viewers invested in the second season, and there may be some especially grand spectacle to witness in the third episode. 

While the first season was produced in New Zealand, where director Peter Jackson shot his massively popular "Lord of the Rings" movies, production moved to the United Kingdom for the second season. That streamlined the production process and allowed the season to continue shooting despite delays related to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but the quicker turnaround time may come at the expense of some visual grandeur.

'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' season 2 trailer

Released alongside the premiere date announcement in May, the first trailer for "The Rings of Power" season 2 teases the further rise of the evil wizard Sauron, who was revealed during the first season to be hiding under the guise of the human Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). 

He's now operating in the open, and the trailer warns that "every soul in Middle-earth is in peril" thanks to the coming of Sauron. The trailer features bursts of action, including a giant bridge collapse and plenty of swordplay. It looks suitably epic for the next phase of the story.

'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' season 2 cast

Morfydd Clark as “Galadriel” surrounded by people, in The Rings of Power

(Image credit: Matt Grace/Prime Video)

Part of the epic scope of "The Rings of Power" is its sprawling cast, led by Morfydd Clark as the elf warrior Galadriel. As the second season is set to expand the story even further, the cast is expanding, too, with at least 17 actors announced as new recurring players, including well-known character actors Ciaran Hinds and Rory Kinnear. That's in addition to the already extensive main cast, most of whom are expected to return for the second season.

Many of the new recurring players may only show up briefly, given how easily such a large cast could become unwieldy. Aside from Sam Hazeldine, who's taking over the role of Adar from first-season actor Joseph Mawle, none of the new recurring cast members have had any of their character details revealed yet.

Here's a rundown of what we expect the main cast to look like in "The Rings of Power" season 2.

  • Morfydd Clark as Galadriel
  • Ismael Cruz Cordova as Arondir
  • Charlie Vickers as Halbrand/Sauron
  • Markella Kavenagh as Nori Brandyfoot
  • Daniel Weyman as The Stranger
  • Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV
  • Benjamin Walker as High King Gil-galad
  • Sophia Nomvete as Princess Disa
  • Peter Mullan as King Durin III
  • Charles Edwards as Lord Celebrimbor
  • Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent Míriel
  • Lloyd Owen as Elendil
  • Alex Tarrant as Valandil
  • Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn
  • Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo
  • Robert Aramayo as Elrond
  • Geoff Morrell as Waldreg
  • Maxim Baldry as Isildur
  • Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn

'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' season 2 plot

The official season 2 description from Prime Video 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.”

That clearly indicates that the struggle against Sauron, now openly pursuing his sinister agenda, will be the main focus of the second season, along with the creation of the dangerous Rings of Power that will eventually reach familiar characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. 

Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have also indicated that Sauron won't just be the villain in season 2, and that he may be closer to the protagonist, just as Galadriel was in the first season. "We felt Sauron should be a character in his own right," McKay told The Hollywood Reporter. "We wanted to study the currents running within him in a way that hopefully would reward audiences as they follow him moving forward as he becomes the Dark Lord."

That's not to say that Sauron won't be evil, and many of the new recurring cast members are likely to play characters who come together in the grand battle against the dark wizard. Amazon's licensing deal includes a plan for five 10-episode seasons, so don't expect any final confrontations anytime soon. 

Sauron, Galadriel and Elrond are all still around for stories set thousands of years later, so their battle will rage on. It's the less powerful characters, including Harfoots like Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh), who may meet more consequential fates as the series progresses.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He's the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has written about movies and TV for Vulture, Inverse, CBR, Crooked Marquee and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.