The Rings of Power season 2 isn't just confirmed, Amazon already announced it's just the tip of the spear. Having invested a Dwarven mine's worth of gold in its Tolkien series, The Rings of Power will have a total of five seasons.
Specifically, show-runner J.D. Payne told Empire that "The rights that Amazon bought were for a 50-hour show. They knew from the beginning that was the size of the canvas – this was a big story with a clear beginning, middle and end. There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until Season 5."
Which is another way of saying The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is definitely going to be a show for the patient. That said, many people probably want Rings of Power season 2 immediately, as season 1 ended in fantastic form.
Sure, the first season got a bit dry at times, but the Prime Video series found its fire (and we're not just talking about that Balrog) in Rings of Power episode 8. So, let's break down everything we know about The Rings of Power season 2, including how long you may have to wait for it to arrive.
Of course, this is your spoiler warning for details from the first season of The Rings of Power:
Rings of Power season 2 release date speculation
We've heard some contrasting things about Rings of Power season 2 release date windows.
The good news about Rings of Power season 2's release date:
At New York Comic-Con 2022, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay revealed (via a pre-taped video) that they were on the show's UK set — and production had just begun.
Further, Prime Video is seemingly intent on getting the sophomore season delivered ASAP, as Amazon Studios head honcho Jennifer Salke told Esquire that "We’re going to get that out into the world as soon as we can. We want the shortest time possible between seasons, but we want to keep the bar just as high. So it’ll take what it takes. But there’s been some urgency around moving quickly, which is why these guys have been writing all through their hiatus. We’re moving fast."
The bad news about Rings of Power season 2's release date:
In an Oct. 5, 2022 interview, co-showrunner Patrick McKay told The Hollywood Reporter that they "expect to work on season 2 for 'another couple years.'"
When do we expect Rings of Power season 2 to come out?
If it takes "another couple of years" from the end of season 1, then we may have to accept that there will be no more Rings of Power until late 2024. Though we're curious if Salke and McKay are on the same page — because that's a long time to wait.
Rings of Power season 2 cast: New cast members
Rings of Power's cast of characters, as huge as it is, is likely (mostly) returning for season 2. Except for Joseph Mawle as Adar: The Hollywood Reporter posted news that Sam Hazeldine (Peaky Blinders) is taking over the role. Other cast additions announced include: Gabriel Akuwudike, Yasen “Zates” Atour, Ben Daniels, Amelia Kenworthy, Nia Towle and Nicholas Woodeson.
As for who else is returning? We don't expect more of the Harfoot folks who aren't Nori (Markella Kavenagh). Season 1 was all about slowly getting her ready to leave the flock, and now that she's off on her own with The Stranger (Daniel Weyman), we doubt that she'll return to her people. As for who The Stranger is? More on that below.
Here's our list of who we expect in the Rings of Power season 2 cast:
- 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
As much as Rings of Power's first arc was about Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), expect as much focus on Halbrand, err, Sauron (Charlie Vickers). Co-showrunner J.D. Payne told The Hollywood Reporter that much like how season 1 is all about the questions of "Who is Galadriel? Where did she come from? What did she suffer? Why is she driven?"... "We’re doing the same thing with Sauron in season two. We’ll fill in all the missing pieces."
In the same interview, Payne waxed poetic about how John Milton's Paradise Lost gave Satan some depth, so expect Rings of Power season 2 to truly flesh out its big-bad.
Oh, and then there's the whole question of Isildur (Maxim Baldry). Presumed dead by his loved ones, Isildur's still very much likely to return at some point in the next four seasons. This is all likely to set up a grand reunion between he and Elendil (Lloyd Owen).
Speaking of supposedly-dead people. We would expect a new actor playing Celeborn to join the cast. Even though Galadriel thinks he's dead, LOTR canon says otherwise. There are offspring to be born, and all sorts of other things for the two to do.
Also, the show's production team (via The Hollywood Reporter) announced that the eldest and wisest elf Círdan will join the show. Casting has not been made yet, supposedly.
Notably absent per the season finale are the Mystics, the trio trying to find Sauron. They found their master in The Stranger are basically dead. So don't expect Edith Poor as The Nomad, Bridie Sisson as The Dweller or Kali Kopae as The Ascetic — unless they're reconstituted by Halbrand/Sauron.
Lenny Henry won't be back either, as Sadoc Burrows was fatally injured during the fight that saw the creepy trio fall.
Rings of Power season 2 plot: What's next?
It's unclear when Rings of Power season 2 will pick up from the season 1 finale, but the new season will revolve around the two biggest moments of season 1. First of all, we've got the aftermath of the reveal that Halbrand is Sauron, and that he's basically made Mordor (or at least he's secured the real estate for Mt. Doom and all the desolate charred plains he could ask for). And there's still that Balrog we saw in episode 7's ending.
As mentioned above, the powers-that-be pulling the strings at The Rings of Power want to spend a lot of time showing Sauron's complexity. Payne even said "In Tolkien, Sauron is a deceiver and we know that in Second Age he appears in 'fair form.' So what if he sneaks up on you and is able to get you to sympathize with him and get you to be on board with him so that once you actually realize who he is, that he’s already got his hooks in you? So it’s not just as easy as, 'This person is evil, I’m going to back away,' because you’ve already formed some level of attachment to him. What if we could get the audience to go through a similar journey?" McKay even compared him to Tony Soprano and Walter White.
The most exciting news, though, is that McKay called Rings of Power season 2 the equivalent to The Dark Knight, were season 1 Batman Begins. Now, Sauron is "maneuvering out in the open." Which should make for much more drama and tension.
The folks who are upset about Rings of Power's canonical inconsistencies have reason for hope, as he continued to say "Season two has a canonical story. There may well be viewers who are like, 'This is the story we were hoping to get in season one!' In season two, we’re giving it to them.”
Elsewhere, we're going to see what happens now that the forces of good have forced the Three Rings. Currently in the hands of Elrond, Celebrimbor and Galadriel, those rings will need to be spread from just the Elvish corners of the lands. We're guessing that Durin III is going to want one of those rings in the Dwarvish lands as recompense for giving over the mithril.
This is where the aforementioned Círdan should show up, as he's supposed to get one of these three rings (which he later gives to Gandalf in the Third Age.)
Speaking of Gandalf? The Stranger's identity has been teased in the finale, as we learned he is (or, may be) one of the Istar (as the Mystics called him), the wizards of Lord of the Rings. That, plus the fact that he seemingly has a love of moths and the phrase "follow your nose," would have many suspect he's Gandalf.
Except, well, there's one giant asterisk: it's too early for Gandalf. If (and at this point, this is a big if) Rings of Power will stick with canon, then we're one-Age too soon, as the five Istari we know (which include Gandalf and Saruman) don't show up until the third age.
Will The Stranger be revealed to be some other Istari? We shall see. Right now, he's on the path to Rhûn with Nori, because that's where he's told he can see the star constellation he's looking for. Rhûn could prove plenty interesting for Rings of Power, as it's essentially a blank slate. Also, Rhûn is where the Mystics wanted to take The Stranger, so that sounds like trouble awaits.
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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.