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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2: Cast, Plot, Trailer, and More

Get ready to meet Tom Bombadil

Tim Surette

We're only months away from returning to Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2. The first season was one of Amazon Prime Video's biggest swings, setting two notable records with its release in 2022: It quickly became the streaming service's most-watched series ever, and it easily became the streaming service's most expensive show ever. 

The gargantuan task of adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's tomes of high fantasy and realizing a world that had been beloved by generations for decades was a risk both creatively and financially, because an adaptation of anything as cherished as The Lord of the Rings needs to be near-perfect to satisfy its obsessive fanbase. Season 1 was met with a wide range of emotions, from pure awe to purely awful. (What's that they say about us not having nice things?) But Prime Video is committed to the series, and after almost two years, Season 2 is coming soon.

You probably have questions: When will The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 be released? How much bigger can the cast get? What will Sauron be up to next season? Can Season 2 overcome the problems with Season 1? We'll try to answer those questions, and many more, including where Season 2 will be filmed, how many episodes it will consist of, and who's directing.

Here's everything to know about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Amazon Studios

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 latest news

Nazanin Boniadi, who played Bronwyn, a human healer, in Season 1, has confirmed that she will not return for The Rings of Power Season 2. In a May 31 Instagram post, Boniadi wrote, "I made the choice not to return for season two of 'Rings of Power.' This was unrelated to my subsequent decision to prioritize my advocacy."

She continued, "Throughout my career, the values I have held most dear are honesty, empathy and integrity.  My character Bronwyn was committed to these same ideals in striving for a fairer world, which is why I connected so deeply with her."

Earlier in May, Boniadi wrote that she had stepped away from acting in 2022 "to focus solely on the #WomanLifeFreedom uprising in Iran and to advocate for the people of [her] homeland who have been risking everything for freedom."

Per Deadline, Boniadi's role in The Rings of Power has not been recast.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 release date

On May 14, Prime Video revealed the date we've all been waiting for. The Lord of the Ring: The Rings of Power Season 2 premieres Aug. 29, 2024. (Season 1 premiered on Sept. 1, 2022.) But how will the season be released? Prime Video didn't say, but I expect a similar rollout as the first season, with two episodes on premiere day, and one new episode weekly after that. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 trailer

At its Upfronts presentation in mid-May, Prime Video debuted the first trailer for The Rings of Power Season 2. The 90-second clip returns us to the Second Age of Middle-earth, where Amazon can flash its checkbook with a dizzying array of cool-looking special effects. 

The biggest shock, however, comes with Sauron's (Charlie Vickers) latest look: He's disguised as a blonde elf! Hardcore Tolkien fans might recognize what this is all about; just as Season 1 saw Sauron adopting the guise of the human Halbrand, it appears Sauron takes on the persona of the elf Annatar in Season 2. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 poster

Want the new-look Sauron and his beautiful golden locks peering into your soul wherever you go? Here's the official poster for The Rings of Power Season 2. Print it out and put it on your wall, make a phone case out of it, or just have a staring contest with it. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Amazon Studios

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 cast

Rory KinnearCiarán Hinds, and Tanya Moodie have joined the cast of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of PowerVariety reported on March 20, 2023, that Hinds (Belfast), Kinnear (Penny Dreadful), and Moodie (Empire of Light) will each recur in Season 2. 

Hinds and Moodie's roles have not been announced, but we now know that Kinnear will be playing Tom Bombadil. On May 29, 2024, Vanity Fair shared an exclusive first look at Kinnear's character.

Even though he is new to the TV series, Tom is a familiar character to fans of Tolkien's novels. "There's a reason why he hasn't been in prior adaptations, because in some ways he's sort of an anti-dramatic character," co-showrunner J. D. Payne told Vanity Fair. Tom did not appear in either Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Ralph Bakshi's animated 1978 film. "I'd say our Tom Bombadil is slightly more interventionist than you see in the books, but only by 5 percent or 10 percent," Payne said.

In addition to Tom Bombadil, we can expect another well-known character from the Tolkien universe to make an appearance in the second season: Círdan the Shipwright. Before Season 1 even premiered, co-showrunner J. D. Payne confirmed to Time that he was excited for fans to meet their version of Círdan in Season 2. Fans of the books will remember that Círdan is the oldest living elf, so old that he is the only known elf to have a beard. Círdan appeared briefly in the first and third movies and was portrayed by Michael Elsworth. Prime Video has not revealed who will play the character in the series.

Gabriel AkuwudikeYasen 'Zates' AtourBen Daniels, Amelia Kenworthy, Nia Towle, and Nicholas Woodeson were added to the cast in December 2022, per Deadline, along with Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Stuart Bowman, Gavi Singh Chera, William Chubb, Kevin Eldon, Will Keen, Selina Lo, and Calam Lynch. Their characters have not been announced.

We do know, however, that one familiar character will be played by a new actor. The role of Adar, the villainous leader of the Orcs, has been recast. Joseph Mawle will be replaced by Peaky Blinders actor Sam Hazeldine going forward, according to TVLine. No reason was given for the recasting.

Nazanin Boniadi, who played Bronwyn in Season 1, will also not return for Season 2.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power main cast

Check out our character guide for the main Season 1 characters in the series:  

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Character Guide

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 renewal

Amazon acquired the rights to make a Lord of the Rings television show on Nov. 13, 2017, for a reported $250 million, though showrunners Patrick McKay and J. D. Payne later clarified to The Hollywood Reporter that it was "tens of millions" less, and the quarter billion-dollar offer was Netflix's failed bid. Prime Video set a multi-season goal for the series and officially ordered a second season in November of 2020. 

McKay and Payne have stated that they have a five-season run planned out and even know what the final shot of the series is, though Amazon has not officially ordered a third season, let alone Seasons 4 and 5. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 production

Filming on Season 2 wrapped in the summer of 2023, Variety reported on July 13, just before the onset of the actors strike for fair wages.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter in October 2022, co-showrunner Patrick McKay said that he expected to be working on Season 2 for "another couple years." However, McKay and his co-showrunner J. D. Payne also admitted that with the experience gained from Season 1 under their belts, production on Season 2 was going faster and more smoothly, which helped them get it out faster compared to Season 1. 

Shooting Season 1 was an incredibly long task, beginning in February of 2020 in New Zealand and taking 18 months due to the massive production and COVID delays. Season 1 filming was completed in early August of 2021. Filming of Season 2 began on Oct. 3, 2022, in the production's new home of the United Kingdom. But Season 2 is expected to be bigger, so even though production might have been smoother, the scope of each episode is presumably larger, adding to the production time.

How many episodes will The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 be?

Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power consisted of eight hour-plus episodes. Season 2 isn't changing things up and will also run for eight episodes. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Amazon Studios

What's coming in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2?

The Season 1 finale revealed Sauron's identity and gave fans more hints about who The Stranger is (he's a wizard!).

McKay and Payne are touting Season 2 as being "bigger and better" on "every level... by an order of magnitude." All showrunners double as salesmen, so touting a bigger season isn't a surprise, but color us intrigued by the promise of the new season being better by an order of magnitude. It could be a simple sales pitch, but it can also be the pair looking at what they did in Season 1 and realizing that they must up their game. Case in point, The Hollywood Reporter's big pre-Season 1 finale Rings of Power cover story says Season 2 will feature "more iconic locations," "familiar Middle-earth characters," and, most interestingly, "a massive two-episode battle." Yes!

Following the Season 1 finale, Morfydd Clark spoke to TV Guide and told us when Galadriel finally wised up to Halbrand's true identity, and how Galadriel felt totally blindsided by the reveal that he was Sauron. "Her deception involves terrible things for the whole of Middle-earth," Clark said. "For her to reckon with that, it's going to be huge."

McKay and Payne explained to The Hollywood Reporter that much of Season 2 will focus on Sauron's development as an antihero. "Sauron can now just be Sauron," McKay said. "Like Tony Soprano or Walter White. He's evil, but complexly evil. We felt like if we did that in Season 1, 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 2 has a canonical story. There may well be viewers who are like, 'This is the story we were hoping to get in Season 1!' In Season 2, we're giving it to them."

Behind the scenes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2

Amazon has confirmed the three directors who will be helming episodes of Season 2, and they're all women. According to Deadline, Charlotte Brändström, Sanaa Hamri, and Louise Hooper have all been named as directors on the show, with Brändström (who directed two episodes in Season 1, including "Udûn," which featured the season's biggest battle) directing four of the season's eight episodes. She will also serve as co-executive producer for the series. She's taking over the lead director position from Wayne Che Yip, who directed four episodes in Season 1, including the finale (pilot director J.A. Bayona also is not returning). Hamri and Hooper — who both have recent prior TV fantasy directing experience, with Hamri working on The Wheel of Time and Hooper directing episodes of The Witcher and The Sandman — will each be directing two episodes.

Where is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 filmed?

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 was famously filmed in New Zealand, which was also the picturesque backdrop for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films. However, Season 2 of The Rings of Power changed things up. 

Season 2 moved production to the U.K. and started filming on Oct. 3, 2022, just outside of London at Bray Studios in Berkshire. Reasons given for the location change include cheaper costs, easier access to more diverse locations throughout Europe, and the Tolkien estate expressing the U.K.'s influence on Tolkien's writing. 

More shows like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Now that you've seen Season 1, what do you watch next? Our list features fantasy epics for the whole family (or just the adults) on several streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, and Max. Here are 7 shows like The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 review

Our pre-air review of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power from Keith Phipps was a positive one, with special kudos to the show's visuals and the approach that paid homage to both the books and Peter Jackson's films. The big knock on it? It took a while to get things going. Here's Keith Phipps' review of the early Season 1 episodes. The reviews aggregator Metacritic says critics overall gave it a tepid 71.

Where to watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 is currently on Amazon Prime Video.

Where to watch The Lord of the Rings films

All three of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King — are currently streaming on Max (formerly HBO Max) and can be rented or purchased from Amazon Prime Video. Max also has the extended versions of each film, in case three hours isn't enough for you.