While viewers are still in shock by the finale revelation, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay admit that Sauron’s identity was absurdly teased early on in the series. The fantasy TV show on Prime Video is a prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, taking place thousands of years before the events in the two trilogies. The story’s main character is Elf Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), who is aggressively looking for Sauron after the Dark Lord Morgoth is vanquished. Through its many plot lines, some of which also feature the collapse of Númenor and a young Harfoot finding a stranger who fell to Earth in a meteor, the entire series twists and turns as it intensifies.
After much discussion regarding the Dark Lord, Charlie Vickers, who had previously played Halbrand, was also revealed to be Sauron in disguise in The Rings of Power season 1 finale. Given Galadriel decided against traveling to Valinor and ended up as a castaway on his sunk ship, the two spent a significant portion of the length of the play getting to know one another. Even Vickers, who plays the role, was unaware he would be portraying Sauron in the Lord of the Rings prequel series. The creators appear amazed that neither he nor the public realized it sooner.
The showrunners of The Rings of Power, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, discuss how Halbrand was erroneously hinted at as Sauron early on when discussing season 1’s main unexpected reveal in an interview with Vanity Fair. Almost the whole course of the show, the two kept their identities a secret, mostly by using several language hints in the character’s introduction, specifically the line “Looks can be deceiving.” As Payne stated below:
“Yes, in his very first shot, he’s looking over his shoulder with one eye.
And in episode two, he says,
“The tides of fate are flowing. Yours may be heading out.”
When the ring enters her orbit, Galadriel addresses Frodo with such a phrase. She keeps saying what he said to her for the first time. Then, on the raft, she queries:
“What kind of man would leave his companions to die? The kind of man that knows how to survive.”
The Rings of Power has astonished both its audiences and cast with stunning literature that skillfully preserved Sauron’s secrecy throughout various production phases. Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays Arondir, recently hinted that he was able to predict the show’s Sauron twist in a fun manner before anybody else did. Clark has already admitted that it was “frustrating and exhilarating” and “sort of agonizing” to portray the character knowing the dreadful truth. To put it mildly, by referencing Galadriel’s words to Frodo from The LOTR, the show’s writers have upped their game in the world of franchises. They have demonstrated both strong script-building skills and the ability to keep viewers talking about the film series as much as they talk about it.
The success of any franchise depends on the impression it leaves on the general public, and The Rings of Power has demonstrated this. Now that audiences have been led to believe that not everything is as it seems, it will be interesting to see how Payne and McKay attempt to maintain this deception going into season 2. Vickers recently hinted at a specific strategy for the character moving forward. The duo recently noted that the Sauron reveal was not meant to be a great shock, so it seems probable that the surprises will be more in the sort of story happenings than significant twists. To find further hints about Sauron’s unveiling in the interim, viewers can watch The Rings of Power season 1 again, which is currently available on Prime Video.