Every Major Reveal In The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Season 2 Trailer

Despite the rash of projects set in the world of "The Lord of the Rings" that have come to our attention lately — a steadily-growing list that includes multiple upcoming movies, one streaming series, and even video games — fans of "The Rings of Power" have had no choice but to sit on their hands for quite some time now. Season 1 of the Prime Video series came to an end back in October of 2022, leaving viewers on some pretty significant cliffhangers. The unassuming Southlander Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) had been unmasked as the Dark Lord Sauron himself (though only after helping create the three elven rings), our heroes were left scattered in the aftermath of a bloody battle with an army of orcs, and we all witnessed the birth of Mordor and Mount Doom itself in one of the final scenes.

That lengthy wait ... isn't quite over just yet, admittedly, but it just became a little more manageable with the release of the season 2 trailer for "The Rings of Power." The new footage certainly lives up to the hype and then some, likely giving hardcore nerds of J.R.R. Tolkien's vast legendarium plenty to chew on for the next several weeks. Of course, it remains to be seen if the next batch of episodes in Amazon's half-a-billion dollar gamble will be able to win over skeptics and bring back mainstream audiences at the same time. For the rest of us who are happy to once again go along for the ride, however, the thrilling visuals and unexpected twists on display in the teaser might as well be catnip.

Join us down the rabbit hole as we dive into and dissect every major reveal in the "The Rings of Power" teaser.

Darkness is spreading (literally)

Do you see what I see? Probably not, because this looks like a whole lot of nothin' when taken as a screenshot removed from any actual context. But if there's any overarching theme that the teaser hammers home above all else, it's best summarized by the evocative sight of the Prime Video logo eaten up by an encroaching darkness, quickly followed by this murky image. After the dwarf Durin IV (Owain Arthur) ominously notes that, "An evil, ancient and powerful, has returned," we see something crawling towards the camera in all its gooey, ah, splendor. Consider this an extremely unsubtle metaphor for the inescapable fact that all of our main characters are slowly waking up to: Darkness has come to Middle-earth and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

This is a major reversal from the beginning of season 1, when most everybody scoffed at the idea that anything was amiss. Morgoth (Sauron's boss, essentially) had been defeated, the various kingdoms enjoyed a period of prosperity, and only Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and eventually Elrond (Robert Aramayo) seemed to realize that this peace couldn't last. How quickly things change. The creepy imagery doesn't stop there, as we flash to Galadriel, Elrond, and a number of other elves preparing to fight several barely-seen foes shrouded by fog. (The staging and camerawork evokes that scene of the Hobbits surrounded by the Ringwraiths in "The Fellowship of the Ring," but it's a little too early in the timeline for Ringwraiths to appear in "The Rings of Power.") Either way, there's no denying that they have a Sauron-sized problem on their hands.

So about that ooze-monster? Our best guess is this has something to do with the mysterious, malicious force causing the elves' power to fade away, as established in season 1.

Sauron's back and hotter than ever

As much as season 1 toyed with the idea that anyone might actually be Sauron in disguise at any given time, season 2 of "The Rings of Power" is about to double down on that in the best possible way. Fans know from Tolkien's texts that the Dark Lord has the ability to change appearances at will (in layperson's terms, he's a shapeshifter) and manipulate weaker minds as he sees fit. (Let's just say that, of his many titles and nicknames accrued over the millennia, they don't call him "The Deceiver" for nothing.) In season 1, he chose to take the form of Halbrand (aka Hot Sauron) to worm his way into Galadriel's good graces and ultimately position himself to help the elves — specifically Charles Edwards' master forger Celebrimbor — create their three rings of power. Once Galadriel put two and two together, he revealed his true identity to tempt her into joining him in his never-ending quest for power. That didn't work, to put it mildly, and he was forced to regroup and return in what we now know is another identity altogether. 

Folks, meet Annatar. In a bit of a change from Tolkien lore, which established this as Sauron's chosen alias when he befriended Celebrimbor and the elves, the famed giver of gifts was nowhere to be seen in season 1. We appear to be getting a twist on these events in season 2, based on the downright elven getup that Sauron has now chosen. Fans may be disappointed by the idea of simply putting a wig and some pointy ears on the same actor that played Halbrand (speculation ran rampant that Sauron's next identity would require a recast), but we're thrilled to see Vickers reprise his role as Sauron.

Everybody gets a ring!

In its opening (and masterfully-crafted) info-dump, Peter Jackson's "The Fellowship of the Ring" provided a neat and easy summary of the lesser rings of power and Sauron's goal to enslave all wearers with his One Ring. Although simplified quite a bit from Tolkien's vastly more complex telling, the basic gist remains the same: Sauron gifted seven dwarven kings and nine rulers of men with various rings to exert control over them, while the elves created three powerful rings of their own (untouched and uncorrupted by Sauron, notably) in order to help preserve the beauty and longevity of their various realms. We witnessed this momentous event at the end of "The Rings of Power" season 1, though nobody stepped up to claim each ring for their own just yet.

That's no longer the case, if the season 2 teaser is to be believed. In the original telling, Celebrimbor learns of Sauron's treachery the moment he creates the One Ring and puts it on his finger, which in turn motivates the craftsman to distribute the three elven rings: one to Galadriel, and two to Gil-galad (played by Benjamin Walker in the series). The latter two ultimately make their way to the hands of Elrond and Gandalf, but we can safely anticipate "The Rings of Power" to streamline these events quite a bit and settle on three main elven ring-bearers relatively quickly. As for the others, there's certainly a chance we see Sauron attempt to give nine rings to the men who'll eventually turn into Ringwraiths, but we do see King Durin III (Peter Mullan) holding up a ring of his own made out of precious mithril ore.

If that's indeed one of Sauron's rings, things are about to heat up considerably in season 2.

War comes to Eregion

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his various tales set in Middle-earth with a strong anti-war sentiment, which "The Rings of Power" season 1 conveyed quite effectively despite the grandeur and scale of its various battles. In effect, it simply wouldn't be "The Lord of the Rings" without depictions of armies besieging cities and raining hellfire down upon innocents caught up in the bloodshed. Season 2 was always fated to go bigger, darker, and more robust than its debut, so it wasn't exactly a "reveal" to see images of war and battle show up in the teaser. What is notable, however, is the fact that this particular conflict all but confirms the overall direction that these next several episodes will likely take.

Tolkien's writings indicate that, after Sauron's treachery is discovered and the elves subsequently hide the rings from Sauron's grasp, the Dark Lord puts all pretenses aside and declares war upon the elves — particularly those living in the lands of Eregion. This realm played a massive role throughout season 1 and it now appears that this exact event may finally be adapted in "The Rings of Power" season 2. In the teaser, much is made of Sauron's evil now being brought into the light, so it's only a matter of time before even his Annatar disguise fails to fool anyone else and he resorts to open warfare. We won't spoil anything here that'll almost certainly be covered in the series itself but, historically (as far as that term can be applied to a fictional world), this siege is a major pivot point in Middle-earth lore. Expect the entirety of season 2 to steadily build towards this epic battle, which will carry ramifications for centuries to come.

"The Rings of Power" returns to Prime Video August 29, 2024.