With production for the second season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power now underway in the U.K., Prime Video announced this week that eight new actors are joining the already large ensemble. They will be joining the main season 1 cast, except for Joseph Mawle, who will not be returning for the new season.
The eight new recruits are Oliver Alvin-Wilson (Lovesick, The Huntsman), Stuart Bowman (Bodyguard, Sunset Song), Gavi Singh Chera (The Lazarus Project, The Undeclared War), William Chubb (The Sandman, Pistol), Kevin Eldon (Shadow and Bone, Game of Thrones), Will Keen (His Dark Materials, Genius: Picasso), Selina Lo (Boss Level, Hellraiser), and Calam Lynch (Bridgerton, Derry Girls).
The streamer also announced recently that orc leader Adar would be recast in The Rings of Power season 2, with Sam Hazeldine (The Last Duel, The Playlist) taking over the role from Joseph Mawle. This was confirmed in early December when Prime Video confirmed that Nia Towle (Persuasion), Gabriel Akuwudike (Hanna), Nicholas Woodeson (Silent Witness), Ben Daniels (Jupiter’s Legacy), Yasen ‘Zates’ Atour (The Witcher), and newcomer Amelia Kenworthy would be joining the show too.
Adar’s recasting was certainly surprising, given the overall positive reception Mawle had in the role. The actor would post on social media that he’ll be watching the new season “from the sidelines.” The only explanation provided was that he wishes to “explore new characters and worlds.”
Where is The Rings of Power heading in season 2?
A lot happened in the final episodes of season 1 of The Rings of Power that serve as a tease of what to expect in the new season. Halbrand was revealed to be Sauron in disguise, and in the final moments, we saw him get to Mordor. The actor revealed in an interview shortly after the finale aired that he goes in there with a plan, and we will learn about it at the very beginning of the new season. In the Land of the Shadow, he will probably meet Adar, and we might see the two wannabe-orc leaders face off against each other.
Meanwhile, in Eregion, the elves have forged the first three Rings of Power, something that will soon be heard across Middle-earth, and the rest of the races might have something to say about the new balance of power in the country — in particular, the dwarves. The last time we saw Durin IV, he got his title stripped by his father, pretty much leaving a blank page for what to expect from him in season 2.
Well, we should anticipate more Elrond & Durin scenes, as that was the subplot most viewers responded to the most in season 1 of The Rings of Power. However, we must also remember that season 2 had long been scripted before the first one aired. It’s possible that the showrunners also realized that the show worked at its finest when these two were on screen and decided to exploit it even more in the second season. Yet, Patrick McKay and JD Payne have had an overall plan for the series from the minute they started, and it’s unlikely that they were swayed one way or the other by how the first season came together.
Another blank page for season 2 is the harfoots. Nori and The Stranger/Gandalf are on a quest to explore Rhûn, a land that hasn’t been seen in any live-action Tolkien adaptation before, so there’s plenty of new stuff to come from there. Will they come across some other characters that we met in season 1?
If we stick to the lore, this is unlikely to happen (Gandalf and the hobbits did not play a significant role in the Middle-earth story before the Third Age). Meanwhile, Poppy and the rest of the harfoots are also back on trail, but what new adventures are awaiting them? In season 1, The Stranger’s appearance gave them a sense of belonging to the overall storyline. That is now wrapped up, though, so the showrunners will have to come up with something new but not too relevant to the main plot.
In Númenor, a lot has happened. The King is now dead, and Míriel is blind. Elendil left one Isildur back in Middle-earth and is internally devastated. Also, in one of season 1’s most intriguing cliffhangers, Eärien just discovered the palantír that predicted the downfall of Númenor in the first season. That is unlikely to occur for another two or three seasons, but Eärien’s role in the overall plot is still up in the air.
She was created specifically for the show but didn’t have a huge role in season 1. Given her skill and knowing what’s coming down the line, an exciting prospect for her would be to design Minas Tirith when the Númenóreans set up camp in what will later be known as Gondor. And we have yet to meet her other brother, Anárion, who is the other half of the Argonath along with Isildur.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you looking forward to season 2 of The Rings of Power? What storylines from the Tolkien lore do you think Patrick McKay and JD Payne will explore in the new season? Let us know in the comments and on our social media!