Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuted on September 1, 2022, on Prime Video, immediately pulling fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's world of Middle-Earth back into the world.
Many praised the TV show's stunning visuals and how immersive it was, and with good reason, as Amazon spent an incredible $462 million on just those first eight episodes.
The Rings of Power was already planned to be a five-season series once it is complete, and Season 2 is currently in the works, but many questions still remain regarding the upcoming batch of episodes.
Rings of Power Season 2 Release: When Will It Come Out?
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike that is currently ongoing put a lot of upcoming projects on hold, but not The Rings of Power.
On May 2, it was reported that Season 2 of The Rings of Power was going to finish the production process in 19 days without showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
And then in July, Variety reported that Season 2's production was, in fact, wrapped, with filming having completed at some point in later June or early July.
According to Co-Head of Television at Amazon Studios Vernon Sanders, Season 2 could "take a smidge" more than a year after the release of Season 1 to hit the platform:
"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."
Back in October 2022, showrunner and executive producer Patrick McKay stated that it could take "another couple [of] years" before fans see Season 2.
Taking both of those quotes into account, it can be inferred that the actual release window will likely be around the middle of 2024.
Rings of Power Season 2 Cast: Who Will Return?
In Season 1 of The Rings of Power, most of the characters that fans got to know and love were, fortunately, able to make it to the end of the final episode alive, which means that there will be a lot of returning cast members and characters.
Here is a list of everyone that is confirmed to be returning in Season 2:
Morfydd Clark - Galadriel
Galadriel was really the star of Season 1 of The Rings of Power as she hunted Sauron, looking to continue her brother Finrod's mission of killing the dark lord. In Season 2, Morfydd Clark's character will likely still be in a state of shock and anger after Sauron was right under her nose the entire time.
Robert Aramayo - Lord Elrond
Robert Aramayo is the first person to portray Elrond since Hugo Weaving in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films. Despite being a longtime friend and ally of Galadriel, Elrond may show a bit of distrust toward her due to finding out about Sauron at the end of the first season.
Markella Kavenagh - Eleanor "Nori" Brandyfoot
As part of the Harfoot race of Hobbits, Nori was the central character in the Harfoot plotline with The Stranger during Season 1. By the end, the ambitious Harfoot was tested and faced with grueling adversity, but she made it through and will be traveling with The Stranger.
Ismael Cruz Cordova - Arondir
Many described Arondir as the Legolas of The Rings of Power due to his incredible acrobatics and precision with a bow and arrow. In Season 1, he was the hero of the battle at Tirharad, and his relationship with Bronwyn will likely be explored in Season 2.
Nazanin Boniadi - Bronwyn
Bronwyn proved her toughness in Season 1 on multiple occasions, but the battle with Adar's orcs in her home village really allowed her to shine. She ended the Season by pledging to lead her people to Pelargir, and will likely face much adversity when she goes on that journey in Season 2.
Charlie Vickers - Halbrand/Sauron
It may have been a little obvious for hardcore Lord of the Rings fans to predict that Halbrand was actually Sauron in disguise, but the scene where he revealed himself to Galadriel was still spine-chilling. Vickers' character was featured in an epic final shot of Season 1 in front of an erupting Mount Doom, and that definitely won't be the last time fans see the dark lord.
Owain Arthur - Prince Durin IV
Durin became a fan-favorite character from the moment he first appeared on-screen in the Dwarven kingdom of Khazad-dûm. He and Elrond's relationship really got a chance to thrive in the later episodes, with Durin ultimately helping Elrond mine Mithril out of the mountain.
Daniel Weyman - The Stranger
One of the biggest ongoing mysteries of Season 1 of The Rings of Power was the Stranger's true identity. When he was revealed to be one of the Istari, many fans narrowed it down to who the character could be, but one line of dialogue in the final episode all but confirmed who he will turn out to be.
Charles Edwards - Lord Celebrimbor
Poor Celebrimbor may have been manipulated the most by Sauron during Season 1, and his role in this story is far from over. Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth works will know what is in store for Celebrimbor, but without spoiling what is to come, it is safe to say that it will be eventful.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson - Queen Regent Miriel
Miriel is the Queen-regent of Numenor in Season 1, and she decided to come to the aid of those in the Southlands to fight against Adar and his Orcs. After the battle, she decided to return to Numenor but doesn't know that her father, King Tar-Palantir, is dead.
Lloyd Owen - Elendil
Elendil quickly became one of the most important characters in the entirety of The Rings of Power. As the father of Isildur and a loyal servant to Numenor, he has no idea just how important his role in this tale will be.
Maxim Baldry - Isildur
Isildur may actually be the most important character in the entirety of the Lord of the Rings umbrella (Samwise Gamgee is a close second), but the ending of Season 1 of The Rings of Power made it seem as though he died. As many fans know, though, he is probably not dead, and will more than likely make a triumphant return in Season 2.
Who Is Being Replaced in Rings of Power?
Joseph Mawle's Adar was one of the most chilling antagonists of Season 1 of The Rings of Power, and by the end, he seemed to barely escape by the skin of his teeth.
However, Mawle will not be returning for Season 2, and fans will get to see Sam Hazeldine take over the role of Adar. The reasoning behind Mawle's departure was never given.
Some other new faces will be showing up in Season 2 as well, but they won't be in the form of recasts, just new characters that will be introduced.
Amazon confirmed that Game of Thrones' Ciaran Hinds will be joining the mix along with Rory Kinnear, Tanya Moodie, Gabriel Akuwudike, Yasen 'Zates' Atour, Ben Daniels, Sam Hazeldine, Amelia Kenworthy, Nia Towle, Nicholas Woodson, Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Stuart Bowman, Calam Lynch, William Chub, Kevin Eldon, Will Keen, Selina Lo, and Gavi Singh Chera,
What Will Happen in Rings of Power Season 2?
While The Rings of Power does loosely follow the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, J.D. Payne, and Patrick McKay are putting their own spin on the show due to the characters and source material that are within Amazon's rights.
With that being said, it is impossible to predict what will actually come to pass, but the two writers did tease that Season 2 will be "bigger and better."
According to Payne and McKay, Sauron will also be in the spotlight much more than he was in Season 1. Now that the curtain is pulled back and the audience knows who Sauron is, he will be completely fleshed out.
Payne described the treatment of Sauron's character in Season 2 to be similar to the way Galadriel was handled in Season 1:
"Season one opens with: 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."
McKay even compared the complexity of Sauron's character to that of Tony Soprano and Walter White:
"Sauron can now just be Sauron. Like Tony Soprano or Walter White. He’s evil, but complexly evil. We felt like if we did that in season one, he’d overshadow everything else. So the first season is like 'Batman Begins,' and 'The Dark Knight' is the next movie, with Sauron maneuvering out in the open. We’re really excited. 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."
It was also reported that Season 2 will feature multiple locations that fans will be familiar with, characters that have been at the center of hearts for decades, and even an Ancalagon the Black-sized battle that will take place over two episodes.
No details regarding other characters have been revealed at this time, but it can be theorized that Galadriel will continue her journey hunting Sauron.
The Stranger and Nori, on the other hand, are headed for Rhun so that he can find the constellation that he was looking for in Season 1.
Who Is the Villain in Rings of Power Season 2?
Based on everything that Payne and McKay said about how Sauron will be handled in Season 2, it is safe to say that he will be the main antagonist as he begins to build up his kingdom in Mordor.
If the dark lord will get as much screen time as Sauron in Season 2 as he did as Halbrand in Season 1, then he really may be the true central character of the upcoming batch of episodes.
It is also important to remember that Sauron isn't the only threat looming across Middle-earth.
Adar is still out there and the chances of him returning with a vengeance in Season 2 are extremely high.
The Stranger and Nori will also almost definitely come face-to-face with some sort of danger as they travel the countryside on their own journey.
As the release date for Season 2 of The Rings of Power gets closer, fans will undoubtedly learn more about what they can expect from the upcoming installment.
Season 2 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will likely hit Prime Video sometime in mid-2024.