Shows rarely come with such weighted expectations as The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power. Whether you’re a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material or Peter Jackson’s era-defining film trilogy, The Rings Of Power has to carry the legacy of one of the most popular fantasy epics ever written.
- READ MORE: ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power’ review: epic fantasy franchise returns to rule them all
For The Rings Of Power, fulfilling this expectation extends into the long-game. A show based on Tolkien’s appendices was perhaps always going to start with pacing wobbles, yet season one’s final leg felt like the fires of Mordor were finally erupting with life. Can a second season continue that momentum? Here’s what we know so far…
Has The Rings Of Power been renewed for season two?
Yes, before the Second Age began
Amazon officially ordered an eight-episode second season back in November 2019 (via Deadline), before pre-production had even started on the first. After the network acquired the global TV rights to The Lord Of The Rings in 2017, the network made a five-season production commitment, although each consecutive season after the first has to be officially approved by Amazon.
In other words, a second season is officially on the way but it’s unclear whether Amazon will fulfill its plans to have the series span five seasons in total.
What progress has been made on season two?
The beacons are lit
According to The Hollywood Reporter, production on the second season began on October 3 in the UK. Filming is taking place at Bray Studios, just outside of London.
The first season was filmed in New Zealand during the pandemic, the same place where Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy was shot. The decision behind the switch is believed to be economical in that it’s cheaper to shoot in the UK. Amazon is also looking to establish a “multi-show hub” in London, where it will produce other shows as well.
Despite these factors, the decision to move from New Zealand has faced some criticism. When it was announced in August, Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in the original trilogy, shared the news with a face-palm emoji.
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) August 12, 2021
Speaking to Variety, New Zealand politician Todd McClay blamed the country’s economic and regional development minister, Stuart Nash, for not negotiating a deal with Amazon. “Stuart Nash has shown a lack of interest in negotiating with Amazon, despite the huge impact the production could have on our economy,” McClay said. “Stuart Nash needs to be transparent with Kiwis about why he didn’t even ask for future seasons of the show to be filmed in New Zealand.”
In response, Nash claimed Amazon simply made a “commercial choice” which doesn’t reflect the “the capabilities of our local film industry or the talents of the people who work in it”.
Leaders emerge to take up the fight
Amazon has just announced the creative visionaries looking to steer season two to even greater heights. As of December 14 the studio announced that it’s appointed three female directors to helm multiple episodes of the show.
Chief among the names is Charlotte Brändström, who directed two episodes of season one: Udûn and The Eye. Udûn saw Halbrand and Galadriel snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the Southlands. The Eye saw Adar and his Orks claim victory, while King Durin managed to fall out with his son – also named Durin – and Elrond before waking up a Balrog.
Sanaa Hamri is getting the chance to put her own spin on Tolkien’s lore alongside Brändström. The Moroccan born director isn’t new to carefully protecting a beloved franchise though, as she’s served as an executive producer and director on Prime’s The Wheel of Time. She’s also worked on the likes of Shameless, Nashville, Glee, and Desperate Housewives.
British director Louise Hooper is another fantasy series veteran who is making her first foray into the world of Hobbits and Elves. She is best known for her work on the thriller Flesh and Blood, which features Imelda Staunton and Stephen Rea, and Cheat. She’s also accrued directing credits on the first season of Netflix’s adaption of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and the streaming platform’s version of The Witcher.
Does The Rings Of Power season two have a release date?
You fool of a Took
After production on the first season was prolonged by the pandemic, there’s hope season two will roll around sooner than expected.
This was sparked by comments from Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke to Variety, who said they’re “going to get [season two] out into the world as soon as we can”. Asked if it will be out in 2023, Salke added: “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.”
This urgency however was slightly tempered by co-showrunner Patrick McKay, who told The Hollywood Reporter that they expect to work on season two for “another couple years”.
Based on these comments, coupled with the fact filming started in October 2022, it’s likely The Rings Of Power will return sometime in 2024 at the earliest.
Have any new additions been announced for season two?
Elf on the shelf
Amid the announcement of filming kicking off in the UK, it was also revealed a new character called Círdan, one of the oldest and wisest of the Elves, would be joining the ensemble in the second season.
In Tolkien’s writings, the character is against the forging of the rings of power. When that stance goes south, he’s later entrusted with one, namely Narya, by High King Gil-galad (played by Benjamin Walker). Casting for Círdan, however, has yet to be announced.
Have the creators said anything about the plot in season two?
Sauron, come on down
A major focus of season two will be Sauron, who shows up in his “fair form” over the flaming eye on a tower seen in Peter Jackson’s trilogy.
That form was revealed in the season one finale as Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), confirming many long-running fan theories. Following the reveal, the actor teased the direction for Sauron in season two.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Vickers said: “I think it’s a really exciting season because you start to see Sauron for who he is. We’ve been seeing him in this period of repentance. We’re going to move into this period of watching his plans unfold. You’re with him as he moves the pieces on the chessboard.
“There are parts of the lore that are so rich and so exciting and thrilling and things that I adored reading in The Silmarillion that we’re going to see. Those really famous stories are going to unfold next season.
Payne said: “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.”
Sauron can now just be Sauron,” McKay added. “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 manoeuvring 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.”
As reported by THR, it’s been revealed season two will feature an epic two-episode battle, although specifics are unknown.