‘LOTR: The Rings Of Power’ Season 1 Finale: Showrunners & EP Talk Sauron Twist, Tease “Grittier” Season 2, & New Characters From Tolkien Canon
Some snippets, courtesy of cats16 at TORN:
And from /Film:"DEADLINE: You dropped a lot of clues over this season, are we going to get more into Halbrand’s backstory, how he got there on that raft, and set this up?
McKAY: I would say that those are all good questions and questions need answering. So hopefully those are new layers of the onion we can peel back."
"DEADLINE: Let’s shift back up the road to the Stranger and the Harfoots in this Season 1 ender What awaits him and Nori? Is he Gandalf? And, most importantly, will we see Poppy again?
PAYNE: Well, we I think we need to be careful about not spoiling the adventure. I would say, you know, one of the goals from the very beginning for us here was to go to uncharted, unseen corners of the Tolkien map, a huge and tantalizing continent that readers and audiences have never been to.
McKAY: And the idea of a Tolkienian journey and adventure with a wizard and a halfling, it seemed to us like a really exciting and enticing new leg of the journey as it is, as it were."
"DEADLINE: I guess your life is deep into Season 2 production, didn’t you consider saving some of what we saw in the J.D. and Patrick penned finale for that?
WEBER: It’s funny you ask that, there are things that we saved that were going to be in the final bit of the season that we thought, oh, just it’s too big right now to do, to fit that in with everything else and let’s save it, and we’re actually doing some of those things now in Season 2.
WEBER: Yes, and I think it’s really exciting to be exploring them and have the room to do it the way the way we really wanted to, so we weren’t giving anything short shrift.
DEADLINE: Does that exploration include new characters?
McKAY: Círdan will be a part of the adventure moving forward in Season 2 We’ve cast a wonderful actor to play him that we will announce at some future date. But part of the fun of telling a story in Middle-earth is that there’s all these wonderful canon characters that you’ve met Season 1 and then there are additional canon characters that we will get to in future seasons. If you know the lore, you know, anybody is fair game who might have been a part of the world at this time.
WEBER: Season 2 is fundamentally different in that our main villain is out and about and doing his thing. I think in some ways, it’s going to grittier, more intense, maybe a little scarier. Certainly, it has a lot of the same other tonal ranges that you find in the show, which we feel are really sort of fundamental to feeling like you’re in Middle-earth, but once Sauron is openly on the move and working his plans, things get rather interesting."
The Rings Of Power Season 2 Will Delve More Deeply Into J.R.R. Tolkien's Canon
And from the Hollywood Reporter:"There's a lot of canon here, and season 1 is a place where there's an enormous amount of invention happening between tent poles and the canon," McKay notes. "Season 2 is a lot more canon that we're interested in adapting and bringing to life."
‘The Rings of Power’ Showrunners: Sauron Will Be Like Walter White in Season 2
“What’s in the [The Lord of the Rings books] is an all encompassing evil that everyone is afraid of, and is so powerful, it doesn’t even have to be manifested physically,” McKay says. “He’s an image of an eye in [Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings] films, he’s the eye on the tower. We felt Sauron should be a character in his own right. We wanted to study the currents running within him in a way that hopefully would reward audiences as they follow him moving forward as he becomes the Dark Lord. You now know him as a person outside the name ‘Sauron.’ In some ways, we wanted to do an origin story for Sauron. We didn’t want to make a show that was about the hunt for Sauron, but we love the idea of Sauron as a deceiver who could, hopefully, deceive some of the audience.”
Adds Payne: “There’s something that Milton does in Paradise Lost that we talked about a lot. Where he makes Satan a really compelling character. In some ways, he’s the first antihero where he’s compelling and you can’t take your eyes off of him. Milton did that on purpose because he wants you to fall along with Adam and Eve. He wants Satan to be so persuasive that he also seduces [the reader] and you’re unconsciously won over, so that you perceive your own fallenness and your need for redemption.”
Continues Payne: “In Tolkien, Sauron is a deceiver and we know that in Second Age he appears in ‘fair form.’ So what if he sneaks up on you and is able to get you to sympathize with him and get you to be on board with him so that once you actually realize who he is, that he’s already got his hooks in you? So it’s not just as easy as, ‘This person is evil, I’m going to back away,’ because you’ve already formed some level of attachment to him. What if we could get the audience to go through a similar journey?”
Many online had guessed Halbrand was Sauron along the way, which showrunners note is just fine with them — the goal wasn’t to fool everybody with a twist that feels totally out of the blue.
“If you had a sneaking suspicion over the course of an entire season, and then that suspicion is ultimately confirmed, that’s an emotional engagement,” Payne says. “Tragedy is one of the highest art forms. There’s a reason people are still putting on Romeo and Juliet hundreds of years after it was written even though you know what happens at the end. A surprise only rewards you on one viewing.”
“I hope after the last episode airs, viewers watch the whole season again, which is now a different experience,” McKay says. “We hope that, as we get into season two, it makes people like season one even better because you’re seeing it through a new prism.”
Speaking of the next season of the Prime Video series — which has begun filming, yet isn’t expected until sometime in 2024 — the producers hint Sauron will play a major role as he moves forward as an antihero in the model of some iconic TV characters.
“Season one opens with: Who is Galadriel? Where did she come from? What did she suffer? Why is she driven?” says Payne. “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 adds. “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.”