The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power season 2 news and everything we know so far

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 8
(Image credit: Amazon)

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2 is filming across the UK at the moment. While not everyone may have finished the first season of the Amazon epic, those who did will know there are plenty of loose ends to be tied up. With everything from Sauron's identity being revealed to a very telling tease from the Stranger, we're desperate to find out what will happen next.

We've been combing through all of the news about the show to keep you up to date on The Rings of Power season 2. There have been plenty of teases too, including new characters being introduced, some cast members leaving, and story teases from showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. So, to get up to speed with Middle-earth's future, follow your nose to the guide below…

The Rings of Power season 2 release date speculation

The Rings of Power

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

The Rings of Power season 2 doesn't yet have a release date – but it is filming. Production began (in the UK, with the series no longer filming in New Zealand) on October 2022.

It's unlikely that the second season will take 18 months to wrap filming as the first season did. Not only is production relatively free of COVID interruptions this time around, Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke has hinted that a quicker turnaround is happening and speed is of the essence with the new season.

"We're going to get that out into the world as soon as we can," Salke told Variety. "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."

While we can't accurately predict what that means for Rings of Power season 2, we'd be surprised if filming isn't wrapped by mid-2023. If that's the case – and all the post-production that goes with it – we can expect an early 2024 release date. Late 2023 is an outside bet too, given Amazon's desire to seemingly keep the Middle-earth pipeline flowing far quicker than it has before.

The Rings of Power season 2 cast – and new characters

The Rings of Power

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

The Rings of Power cast will remain mostly intact next season – but we may know a few by a different name.

Morfydd Clark will return as Galadriel. Charlie Vickers is also set to be back as Sauron, AKA the Southlander formerly known as Halbrand.

On the Elven side of things, we can expect Elrond (Robert Aramayo), High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker), Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards), and Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) to continue their journeys. Don't be surprised to see the latter's will he/won't he romance with Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) rage on in a second season. Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) could also be on the hunt for Adar, who will be played by Sam Hazeldine, instead of Joseph Mawle, this time around.

Addressing his exit, Mawle wrote on Twitter: "I loved my time exploring Middle-earth and diving into Tolkien's mythology. I'm so honored that the character was liked. He cared deeply about telling you his story. Though as an actor it remains my wish, my job description, to explore new characters and worlds. Wishing all the best to cast and crew for S2, I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines."

The trail of the Harfoots may go cold, however. Nori (Markella Kavenagh) has set off with The Stranger/Gandalf (Daniel Weyman) and has left her family and friends behind. They may reconnect one day, but the attention will surely be focused on the next step in the pair's quest.

Over in Numenor, there's suddenly room at the top. Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) will be mourning the death of her father and coming to terms with her own loss. Elendil (Lloyd Owen) could remain by her side and may have to stave off attention from Pharazon (Trystan Gravelle).

And we haven't forgotten about the Dwarves! Fingers crossed Durin III (Owain Arthur) and Disa (Sophia Nomvete) are back.

As of writing, there are multiple new characters joining the show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cirdan "one of the wisest and oldest of the elves" will be cast in the new season. In fact, an unnamed actor has been cast, we just don't know who it is yet. 

A whole bunch of fresh-faced cast members were added to the season 2 roster, including Persuasion's Nia Towle, The Witcher's Yasen 'Zates' Atour, The Exorcist's Ben Daniels, Bridgerton's Calam Lynch, and Games of Thrones' Kevin Eldon. They'll be joined on screen by fellow newbies Amelia Kenworthy, Nicholas Woodeson, Will Keen, Selina Lo, Gabriel Akuwudike, Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Stuart Bowman, Gavi Singh Chera, and William Chubb

On top of that, we've got news that three actors will appear in "recurring" roles. Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones), Rory Kinnear (James Bond), and Tanya Moodie (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) have recently been confirmed to join the swelling cast.

The Rings of Power season 2 story: where does it go from here?

The Rings of Power

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

 "I think in some ways, it’s going to grittier, more intense, maybe a little scarier," The Rings of Power executive producer Lindsey Weber told Deadline.

More intense? Scarier? Maybe it's best to start with the Dark Lord himself. The first season ended with Sauron – who was in disguise as Halbrand – heading towards Mordor and Mount Doom. His end goal? We can point to the Lord of the Rings trilogy for evidence of what's to come, but his short-to-medium term plans will involve getting revenge over Adar and gaining control of the legion of Orcs who want to follow him. 

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner JD Payne said they want to give Sauron the Galadriel treatment in season two in terms of diving deep into the character's motivations.

"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."

Fellow showrunner Patrick McKay added, "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 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."

And don't forget about those titular rings. Those three Rings of Power may be out of his grasp, though they are certainly items of interest for Sauron should he find himself in conflict with Galadriel again.

Speaking of Galadriel, she is now joined in a pact of balance with Elrond and Celebrimbor. The three rings for the Elven Kings should stave off any unwanted threat to the elven race in Mordor for the time being. Keeping them in their possession – and ensuring that power doesn’t corrupt – is another matter entirely.

Numenor's hierarchy is similarly troubled. The king is dead and Miriel has been blinded. Who's left to pick up the pieces? While Miriel is still a formidable leader and backed by Elendil, there are those who may try and stake a claim to the throne – such as Pharazon.

The most intriguing plot thread in The Rings of Power season 2, though, is that between The Stranger/Gandalf and Nori. Judging by the finale, the unlikely duo will travel east to Rhûn in season 2. Their destination could prove to be a key location in the new batch of episodes. If they make it there, that is – following your nose can only get you so far. Either way, they're sure to bump into some of Middle-earth's major players on their long journey.

One thing that's for sure, though, is that season 2 is going to have an even bigger scope than season 1. "We've never done anything like this. So the whole production model, how to produce a show like this, the scale work, all that were things that we needed to learn for the first time in the process of making the show," Vernon Sanders, Head of Global TV for Amazon Studios, told Deadline. "We are going to be faster. We are going to be able to put more money on screen, just in terms of the scale and scope of what we're doing now that we know how to do it. And I also think the pace of our story is going to increase in part because the story is demanding that now that everyone's been established, the stakes are established, that we're going to watch some characters in some lands go to war."

Disa star Sophia Nomvete also recently gave a tease about season 2 at the Deadline Contenders TV panel. Speaking about the big Sauron reveal, she explained they'll be tackling "how does every single world navigate his time, his reign and his force? And it is absolutely mind-blowing."

Whatever comes to pass, don't expect the story (which is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth) to bump up into the events in The Lord of the Rings, nor Peter Jackson's movie trilogy. We're still some way off that. The Rings of Power is, and always will be, a prequel set well before the likes of Aragorn and Frodo enter Middle-earth.

In the meantime, check out the best shows on Amazon Prime Video and the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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