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The Rings Of Power Season 2 Will Debut A Second Sauron - How Is That Possible?

Contains spoilers for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power"

Tolkien fandom never sleeps, even on Easter Sunday. On that date, fansite Fellowship of Fans made a bombshell announcement regarding the primary antagonist of Amazon Studios' "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" series. In an exclusive revelation via Twitter, the site confirmed the long-standing rumor that Sauron would present himself in two different forms in Season 2 of the show. The tweet reads, "We can confirm previous reports that there will be 2 different Sauron character forms in 'The Rings of Power' Season 2."

The Twitter post also adds the tag, "It is not confirmed yet whether there will be a new actor or if Charlie Vickers will play both roles." The following thread goes on to confirm that Vickers has spent time on set with Sam Hazeldine, who was cast as the new actor to play Season 1's popular villain Adar. It also references an in-story element where Vickers' Sauron will be wounded.

It's the rumor of a second Sauron, though, that has caught many an eye in Middle-earth's sprawling fanbase. The idea of a dual-Sauron character has run like wildfire throughout the online Tolkien community for months now, ever since Twitter user @DrNosy made the spoilery claim back in early December, shortly after Season 1 had finished airing. In that case, it was merely suggested that the second "version" of the villain would be called Annatar. That post also made it clear that the new form of the villain would be played by a different actor — a fact that Fellowship of Fans was careful to clarify it had not confirmed in its more recent post.

How can there be two Saurons in a single story?

The fact that there are now two sources confirming a doubule iteration of Sauron seems to point to some truth behind the claim. Diehard fans may have all sorts of introspective takes on the possibilities of two Saurons in the larger story. But for the legions of fair-weather fans who enjoy Middle-earth without the need to dig too deep into its complex lore, it begs one simple question: How can there be two Saurons in the first place, especially if one of them may not be portrayed by the same actor?

The answer lies in the incredible abilities of Sauron, not just as a demonic powerhouse and a ruthless warlord, but as a shapeshifter. Sauron is technically a spiritual being who has "descended" into the planes of Arda (the world), and there are multiple points in Tolkien's writings when the incorporeal character dons various earthly forms. In the beginning, this is done to get things that he wants. Later on (read: after he loses the One Ring), it becomes a necessary part of his slow evolution from pure spirit back to an incarnate being.

In either case, the Dark Lord is repeatedly shown throughout the long history of Middle-earth to be very capable of taking on different forms. These aren't excellent costumes or well-done makeup, either. At various times, Sauron completely shifts from one form to another.

The many shapes of Sauron

Sauron takes on many shapes during the first three ages of Middle-earth history. Mainstream audiences are already familiar with his black-armored humanoid appearance from the early moments of Peter Jackson's "The Fellowship of the Ring" film. After that, he loses his body when the Ring is cut from his hand, and he slowly takes on a new form over the next three thousand years, first as the Necromancer, then as the vague "Eye" persona described in "The Lord of the Rings." But that isn't all of his shape-shifting — not by a long shot.

In "The Silmarillion," thousands of years before "The Lord of the Rings," Sauron has an epic battle with Huan, the greatest hound ever to live. The book explains that after getting pinned down by his opponent, "Sauron shifted shape, from wolf to serpent, and from monster to his own accustomed form." Eventually, he becomes a bat-shaped vampire and flees.

The book later gives us more details from the Second Age (when "The Rings of Power" is set). At the beginning of that age, it briefly mentions that "Sauron put on his fair hue again." Later, it adds that when he first approached the Elves (with the intent of making some powerful Rings), "he went far and wide among them, and his hue was still that of one both fair and wise." At a certain point later on (which we won't detail here to avoid too many spoilers), Sauron loses this nicer body. The text explains that, after he returned to his base in Mordor, "There now he brooded in the dark, until he had wrought for himself a new shape; and it was terrible, for his fair semblance had departed for ever."

How could a second Sauron impact the Rings of Power storyline?

There's plenty of canonical evidence to back up the concept of two different versions of Sauron traipsing around Middle-earth (one at a time, of course — it doesn't say he can be in two places at once, after all). The question is, how could two Saurons (whether they're both acted by Vickers or not) factor into the show? While it's inspired by Tolkien's world, the show's creative team has had to fill in many gaps in the lore, and they've shown that they're willing to blaze their own narrative tale throughout that process. Where do two Saurons fit into that unique story?

We won't know for sure until Season 2 makes its way to the screen. But it seems pretty obvious that a fresh take on Sauron is required to move the story forward after the way Season 1 ended. By then, Sauron (as Halbrand) had already been seen all over the island nation of Númenor and in the Elvish realm of Eregion.

Now that he's been outed as the Dark Lord in disguise, he'll need some new camouflage to keep up the masquerade. So far, in showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay's story, he's only helped create the Elvish rings. Canon issues with that ring-making timeline aside, part of the problem with the creation of the Rings of Power — particularly the nine for mortal men and the seven for the dwarf-lords — is that Sauron helps make them and pollutes them with his touch. So ... yeah, he needs to find a way back into Celebrimbor's (Charles Edwards) workshop or something similar if he's going to get that done, and he likely needs a new look to avoid getting caught while he's at it.