With roughly six weeks to go before its premiere on Amazon Video, the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel TV series, The Rings of Power, took advantage of a massive San Diego Comic-Con stage to debut its most enticing trailer yet.
Based on notes and lore penned by J.R.R. Tolkien, the new TV series will revolve around his series’ “Second Age” era—as in, thousands of years before characters like Frodo and Sam existed. This week’s trailer begins to truly set the stage of epic battle between the recovered populations of men, dwarves, and elves, and a dreaded evil rising once more from Middle-earth—which goes by “many names” but is clearly personified by Sauron.
“Have you heard of Sauron?”
The character of Galadriel, previously played by Cate Blanchett but now entrusted to Morfydd Clark (His Dark Materials), is the first in the trailer to see a vision of a newly rising evil, while Prince Durin IV (played by Owain Arthur) is warned directly that Sauron’s forces are planning to “bury us all beneath the mountain” (that being Khazad-dûm). We also finally see the new series’ previously teased “Stranger” character, played by Daniel Weyman, who accosts Theo, the son of Bronwyn, in a shared prison cell and grimly asks, “Have you heard of Sauron?”
Although we don’t get a head-on look at a clear villain, a Sauron-like hand is visible in select scenes (including one where many orc-like monsters bow in its wake), while a menacing sword, made of dark dust and fire, generates within Theo’s hand in a way that resembles the film series’ Morgul-blade. All the while, a previously unseen eye-shaped mark appears throughout the trailer, perhaps signifying the presence of Sauron or an equivalent evil. In addition to a number of zoomed-out, Tolkien-worthy battle sequences shown as mere blips, the trailer also shows more than a few examples of the series’ opposed races allying in moments where their combined forces are needed to face a great evil.
Galadriel is clearly held up as the series’ protagonist throughout the trailer; in its opening beat, she observes a massive stack of expired elven helmets at the end of a massive battle (perhaps from the end of Tolkien’s First Age, or earlier in the Second Age), and she additionally draws a sword and swims away from danger. Elvish hero Arondir gets a few key moments in the trailer, as well, to basically fake like your favorite arrow-slinging combatant from the original Peter Jackson trilogy—and indeed, this is a trailer for war and danger, not for the whimsy of the “harfoot” characters who serve as ancestors to the better-known race of hobbits. (To see more of the new series’ harfoots, rewind one week to a more solemn teaser trailer.)
In addition to today’s trailer, attendees at SDCC were treated to not one but four exclusive clips from the series, each focusing on different protagonists. The dwarvish Prince Durin IV participates in a rock-smashing contest; the series’ leading harfoot duo encounter and are nearly caught by a sleeping giant; Arondir manages to defeat a number of orc captors while restrained in chains; and the leading elf duo of Galadriel and Elrond share a solemn conversational moment that, at least in this event’s context, could be seen as flirty.
These scene-specific trailers may not make their way to YouTube ahead of the series’ launch, in which case we will all have to wait to see them until September 2, when the series begins to premiere, one episode per week, exclusively on Amazon Video. Worth noting: our international readers will appreciate Amazon’s effort to simultaneously launch the series in “over 240 territories.”