The Rings of Power, Amazon’s eagerly awaited series based on JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, has reached the end of its first season.

The eight-part fantasy drama has taken viewers back to the Middle-earth long before the events of The Lord of the Rings to meet familiar characters as well as new faces.

The spectacular production has created stunning new worlds like the island of Númenor, the Elvish land of Lindon and the Dwarves’ underground stronghold at Khazad-dûm, and gave us the unforgettable sight of the once-beautiful Southlands becoming the dark, foreboding Orc world of Mordor.

So what’s next for The Rings of Power? When can we expect to return to Middle-earth, where might season 2 take us and who is joining the cast for the new series?

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Will there be a Rings of Power season 2?

Yes there will, and more besides. When Amazon bought the television rights to Tolkien’s works in 2017, it made a five-season production commitment worth at least $1bn.

With the first season proving so successful – the 25 million viewers who watched the first episode within 24 hours of its release was Prime Video’s biggest ever premiere – it would come as some surprise if Amazon didn’t fulfil all five seasons.

Production on The Rings of Power season 2 began on 3 October 2022, just as the first season was drawing to a close.

When is The Rings of Power season 2 release date on Prime Video?

The Rings of Power season 2 release date has yet to be confirmed, but we'll update this article when it is.

With filming only having just begun, and the second season promising to be on the same epic scale as the first, it’s unlikely that we’ll see The Rings of Power season 2 on our screens before spring 2024 at the earliest.

The first season, of course, was produced during the global Covid pandemic. In March 2020, filming had to be put on hold for six months, resuming in September 2020, and the series took another two years to reach our screens.

But just because there’s no lockdown this time, don’t expect to return to Middle-earth any sooner.

Showrunner Patrick McKay told The Hollywood Reporter that he expects to be working on season 2 “another couple years”, so it could be autumn 2024 before we find out what happens next!

How many episodes are there of Rings of Power?

The show's first season comprised eight episodes of between 65 and 72 minutes in length. It's expected that season 2 will also comprise eight episodes.

Where will The Rings of Power season 2 be filmed?

The New Zealand sets of Lord of the Rings Shutterstock

While the first season was filmed in New Zealand, Amazon has decided to base production for the second and subsequent series in the UK.

The reasons for this are economic (the company is investing heavily in UK studio space) and sentimental – the Tolkien estate preferred the series to be filmed in the country that originally inspired the writer.

Problems encountered while filming in New Zealand during lockdown may also have been a factor in bringing the production ‘home’.

The decision also marks the end of the link between Tolkien’s adaptations and New Zealand.

All six of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies were made in the director’s homeland, and much of the Rings of Power crew had worked on those films.

What will The Rings of Power season 2 cover and what is the plot?

*WARNING – Season 1 spoilers ahead*

Celebrimbor in The Rings of Power Prime Video

The Rings of Power season 1 has left a number of unresolved storylines that will, we hope, be addressed in season 2:

What of the other Rings of Power?

Episode 8 closed with a haunting rendition of the Rhyme of the Rings, which foretells the creation of the Rings of Power and the fate of their bearers.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
One Ring to rule them all, one Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

The first three rings - those of the Elven-kings - have now been forged by Celebrimbor (encouraged by Sauron in the guise of Halbrand), and their legends will grow: they are even given the names Nenya, Vilya and Narya and each gifted to a bearer, respectively Galadriel, Elrond and Círdan the Shipwright, who has yet to feature in the series.

But what of the other 17 rings? According to Tolkien, the rings given to dwarves and men were also created by the elves, while the One Ring was forged by Sauron himself from the fires on Mount Doom. Will the next season follow the creation of the  16 rings, and if so how will Sauron manipulate the smiths of Eregion into forging them?

Who is The Stranger?

We now know that The Stranger found and fostered by Nori Brandyfoot is not Sauron after all, but one of the Istari, wizards sent by the Valar - the gods of Tolkien's universe - to protect Middle-earth.

We already know three Istari well - Radagast the Brown (played by Sylvester McCoy in Peter Jackson's Hobbit films), Saruman the White (whose lust for power later sees him ally with Mordor) and the most familiar of all, Gandalf the Grey.

We left The Stranger, accompanied by Nori Brandyfoot, heading for Rhûn to discover more about his origins, but his words of advice to Nori - "Always follow your nose" - offer a massive clue as to his identity: in The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf offers this same piece of wisdom to the Hobbit Meriadoc Brandybuck. Could The Stranger be Gandalf?

Will Sauron take on Adar for control of Mordor?

We last see Halbrand - now confirmed to be the Dark Lord Sauron - heading for Mordor and the fires of Mount Doom. The dark lands are currently under the control of corrupt elf Adar and his orc legions. Adar told Galadriel that he had murdered Sauron, so may be in for a shock when Halbrand reaches his shadowy realm.

The fight for the Southlands

The Southlands is now Mordor, and Sauron is closing in on the dark kingdom. But what of Bronwyn, Theo, Arondir and the exiled Southlanders? Will they fight - in vain as we know - to regain the Southlands or settle elsewhere and continue to feature in season 2?

Is it farewell to the Harfoots?

Nori has left her nomadic Harfoot tribe to set off for Rhûn with The Stranger. Her family and friends are moving on without their leader and Trailsman Sadoc Burrows - is that the last we'll see of them in The Rings of Power? Could they break their nomadic habit and settle down in what becomes The Shire? Don't bet against them cropping up again in season 2...

A Numenorian power battle

Númenor's Queen Regent Míriel has been blinded in the eruption of Mount Doom. When she returns to the island kingdom as queen following the death of her father Tar Palantir, will her ambitious advisor Pharazôn use her injuries as an excuse to wrest control over the government of Númenor – and what might Míriel’s loyal sea captain Elendil make of it?

Where is Isildur?

Elendil is mourning the death of son Isildur, presumed killed inside a burning house in the Battle of Tirharad. But we know this is not the end of the ambitious young soldier - it is he who later cuts the One Ring from Sauron's hand to become the ring-bearer himself.

Following Isildur's disappearance, his restless horse Berek refuses to carry anyone else and bolts from the Númenórean encampment. Is Berek in mourning for his master too or will he find Isildur and bring him back to his father's side in season 2?

Mithril, the elves and the downfall of Khazad-dûm

Gil-Galad’s aim of using the dwarves’ mithril to extend the existence of the elves appears to have hit a wall after King Durin sealed up the mine, but the elf king - unaware of the forging of the three rings by the banished trio of Celebrimbor, Galadriel and Elrond - is unlikely to give up so easily. Neither is the Balrog which has been awakened in the depths of Khazad-dûm.

By the Third Age we know the dwarves’ kingdom better as the abandoned Mines of Moria – is this the beginning of the end for the underground stronghold, and will Sauron's gift of "seven rings for the Dwarf-lords" serve to hasten a conflict between the dwarven kingdoms?

How The Rings of Power fits into Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe

Who is joining The Rings of Power season 2 cast?

Ciaran Hinds, Tanya Moodie and Rory Kinnear Shutterstock
Ciaran Hinds, Tanya Moodie and Rory Kinnear are joining The Rings of Power for season 2

As the story expands into a second season, Prime Video has announced a raft of new cast members for The Rings of Power.

There's no detail yet on who which characters they will be playing - with one notable exception - but the news has only served to increase the anticipation for season 2.

The new cast members are:

  • Ciaran Hinds (Belfast, The Terror, The Wonder)
  • Rory Kinnear (Bank of Dave, Years and Years, Bill Tanner in James Bond films)
  • Tanya Moodie (Motherland, Empire of Light, A Discovery of Witches)
  • Gabriel Akuwudike (Hanna, Ridley Road, 1917)
  • Yasen 'Zates' Atour (The Witcher, Young Wallander)
  • Ben Daniels (The Crown, House of Cards, Rogue One)
  • Amelia Kenworthy (stage actress making her TV debut in The Rings of Power)
  • Nia Towle (Persuasion)
  • Nicholas Woodeson (Silent Witness, Baptiste, Skyfall)
  • Oliver Alvin-Wilson (The Bay, The Huntsman)
  • Stuart Bowman (The Pact, Karen Pirie)
  • Calam Lynch (Bridgerton, Derry Girls, Mrs Wilson)
  • William Chubb (Vampie Academy, The Sandman)
  • Kevin Eldon (Game of Thrones, Shadow and Bone, Hot Fuzz)
  • Will Keen (The Gold, Ridley Road, The Crown)
  • Selina Lo (Boss Level, Hellraiser)
  • Gavi Singh Chera (The Undeclared War, The Lazarus Project)

Also joining the cast for The Rings of Power season 2 is Sam Hazeldine (Peaky Blinders, The Last Duel), who is replacing Joseph Mawle as Adar, the leader of the Orcs. 

"I loved my time exploring middle earth and diving into Tolkien’s mythology. I’m so honoured that the character was liked. He cared deeply about telling you his story," Mawle explained on Twitter after the news of his departure was revealed.

“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 X.”

Most of the cast of season 1 of The Rings of Power will also be returning for the second series, including Lloyd Owen as Elendil, Maxim Baldry as Isildur, Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad, Robert Aramayo as Elrond, Morfydd Clark as Galdriel, Owain Arthur as Prince Durin, Markella Kavenagh as Nori Brandyfoot and Daniel Weyman as the mysterious Stranger.

The Rings of Power: Meet the cast and characters of season 1

Stream all eight episodes of The Rings of Power season 1 on Prime Video now

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