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The Rings Of Power's Morfydd Clark Hints At 'Quite A Lot Of New Villains' In Season 2

Contains potential spoilers for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Season 2

Despite the lengthy time between seasons, the leaks and rumors for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Season 2 have started to trickle out. They may be small, but they hint at bigger things in store. Some leaks have come from fansites, such as a drone set photo hinting at danger for the Elvish kingdom of Eregion. Others have come from the actors themselves. Durin III actor Peter Mullan cryptically talked about his character possibly getting a new necklace. Morfydd Clark confirmed that there will be more of the show's titular Rings showing up before long, too.

The Galadriel actress confirmed another eye-opening fact in an interview with Screen Rant: we can expect a fresh batch of hostile characters in Season 2. "I've been really excited by what we're exploring," Clark said, "and there are quite a lot of new villains, which is really fun." She added, "Sauron is the big bad, but there's loads of sketchy people in Middle-earth with bad intentions."

The unveiling of Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) as the Dark Lord Sauron in disguise was the big reveal of Season 1, but he wasn't the only antagonist in town. On the contrary, the first installment of the show already set up a menagerie of villains from the Orc leader Adar (Joseph Mawle) to the slimy Númenórean counselor Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) to the disturbing trio of magic-wielding mystics from the East — not to mention numerous Orcs, a Troll, a warg, a sea serpent, a Balrog, and the occasional treacherous Man (gotta watch those backstabbing humans).

The question is, what new villains lay in store for Season 2? There are quite a few candidates. Let's explore, shall we?

There's plenty of monstrous potential

Let's start with the obvious. There are a lot of monsters in Middle-earth. Like, a lot. It's already been rumored that the infamous Shelob — the same arachnoid villain that waylays Frodo and Sam as they attempt to enter Mordor during "The Lord of the Rings" — will make a brief appearance in the next season. Don't forget her kiddos, too. J. R. R. Tolkien explains in "The Two Towers" that Shelob also gives birth to "her lesser broods, bastards of the miserable mates, her own offspring, that she slew." These smaller spiders that escape their murderous mother eventually reach far-off regions like Mirkwood. Perhaps we'll see some of them spreading across Middle-earth.

Dragons are another new creature that has the potential to show up. Tolkien's terrible lizards feature early and often in Middle-earth history, with and without wings, some spouting fire and others relying on brute force. While most of Tolkien's Dragons operate in the First and Third Ages, there's at least one mention of them in the Second Age, when "The Rings of Power" is set. "The Silmarillion" describes the fate of non-Númenórean Men early in the age by saying, "Men dwelt in darkness and were troubled by many evil things that Morgoth had devised in the days of his dominion: demons, and dragons, and misshapen beasts, and the unclean Orcs that are mockeries of the Children of Ilúvatar." Dragons are definitely a factor at this point. Perhaps we'll see some of the Great Worms slithering into the story before long.

Lots of mortal candidates come to mind

In Peter Jackson's "The Fellowship of the Ring," Elrond (Hugo Weaving) expresses his disgust at Gandalf's (Ian McKellen) recommendation that he ask humans for aid by saying, "Men. Men are weak. The race of Men is failing. The blood of Númenor is all but spent, its pride and dignity forgotten." Of course, during "The Rings of Power," that Númenórean blood is still going strong. When Elrond makes that statement thousands of years later, though, he isn't just referencing Isildur's failure to destroy the One Ring. He's seen plenty of Men break bad — including some potential candidates for Season 2's villains.

We already saw Pharazôn play the part of the skeptical counselor in Season 1. Will he finally follow his ordained Tolkienian destiny in Season 2 and seize the crown from his cousin Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson)?

Let's not forget that more Rings of Power are coming, too. Some of these will go to Dwarves, who never serve Sauron but absolutely become corrupted and greedy villains. Others go to Men, who become the infamous Nazgûl. "The Silmarillion" describes this nonet of nefarious humans by saying, "Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old." "The Rings of Power" story is set during the early portion of this ring-powered transformation, which makes it a definite possibility for Season 2.

Finally, there are many other Men scattered about Middle-earth who could darken the story. By the end of Season 1, Nori (Markella Kavenagh) and the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) are headed to the Eastern regions of Rhûn, where there are plenty of potentially wicked humans. There is also a group of humans in the source material called the Black Númenóreans who will eventually enter the story and begin to colonize Middle-earth, enslaving its inhabitants and carting off its natural resources.

Don't forget that Orcish mischief in Mordor

Season 1 centered heavily on the sudden evolution of the Southlands into the infamous region of Mordor. We saw Mount Doom erupt, obliterating the countryside and killing off or driving away its peaceful inhabitants. Once they were cleared out, the Orcs, led by their warped Elvish leader Adar, backfilled the area.

While Adar and the Orcs are already well-established figures in the show, their part of the story serves as an infinite breeding ground for additional potential villains. There's the possibility of individual confrontations with one-off Orcish antagonists as well as the potential for other Orc chieftains to throw their hat in the ring and strive for leadership over their new realm. We know Halbrand/Sauron is on the scene (as of the closing moments of Season 1). What kind of evil will he draw out of the woodwork now that he's arrived home?

There's also the fact that Joseph Mawle has left the show after a stellar Season 1 performance. The character has been recast, with Sam Hazeldine filling the role. This creates a new villain, or at least a new face on a villain, for Season 2 in its own indirect way.

Don't count out the Elvish counselors

In Season 1, the first time we meet Elrond (Robert Aramayo), the fledgling Elven Lord is informed that he won't be attending the High King Gil-galad's (Benjamin Walker) council. The message specifically states, "The Council regrets to inform you you won't be permitted to attend the next session. Elf-lords only."

In context, this is a benign statement that is quickly forgotten when Elrond discovers that Galadriel has returned. But it does seem to imply that the half-Elven speech writer has some issues with the immortal leaders in Lindon. What those are remains unexplained as of the Season 1 finale. Based on the source material, though, there are a lot of important Elves coming in and out of Lindon. If Season 2 starts to explore the political resistance Elrond is facing, we could see some politically motivated Elvish antagonists introduced to the show before long.

In "Unfinished Tales" and other areas of the source material it also indicates that Galadriel and her husband Celeborn leave Lindon and head East at one point. (J. R. R. Tolkien's writings about the power couple are scattered, inconsistent, and spotty, at best.) While this appears to be a friendly departure, perhaps the show will use political tension in the Elvish capital as a way to oust the headstrong Galadriel, pushing her toward her destiny as the Lady of far-off Lothlorien.

Annatar (aka: not Halbrand) could show up

Halbrand is Galadriel's bestie in Season 1. The two meet on the high seas, where Halbrand immediately begins getting under Galadriel's skin. Slowly, her distrust is compromised ... until, hey presto! Her new best bud reveals himself to be Sauron in disguise. The Elf rejects the Dark Lord's offer of power, leading to Halbrand's rapid withdrawal from the situation.

While he does hightail it back to Mordor, there's certainly potential that Sauron could come back in Season 2 in a new way. In fact, some leaks have already hinted that he could be showing up in a different form. (He's a shapeshifter, so he can do that kind of thing.)

If that happens, we might end up seeing a different version of the Dark Lord. He might even show up in his infamous form of "Annatar, the Lord of Gifts." This is a hidden persona (like the Halbrand one) in which Sauron pretends to help the Elves make the Rings of Power. Since JD Payne and Patrick McKay's show has opted to only make the Three Elven Rings so far (a significant deviation from J. R. R. Tolkien's ring-making timeline, where they're made after the Rings for Men and Dwarves), it's entirely possible that Sauron will secretly come back in the form of Annatar to help make the rest of the overpowered trinkets.