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What Is The Monster In The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Trailer?

Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" series promises to go where no other cinematic adaptation has gone before. The show has already hinted at the vast scope it will cover. Geographically, it's going to take place in regions stretching from the northern Elven kingdom of Lindon to the hot-as-heck Southlands in — you guessed it — the south to the oceanic island nation of Númenor away in the west.

As far as the timeline is concerned, showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne have already explained in a lengthy preview of their show for Vanity Fair they're compressing thousands of years of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth history into a single point in time, noting, "We're going to tell one story that unites all these things." Even so, with the series covering so much content over time and space, it's going to naturally go into many areas that Peter Jackson, Ralph Bakshi, and other Middle-earth adapters never dreamed of going. This will also mean we're going to see a lot of characters, places, and creatures that we've never seen before.

One of those new creatures already appeared in the show's first trailer, which aired during Super Bowl LVI, in the form of a massive, gnarly, cave-dwelling beast. This quickly led to speculation about what kind of creature this could be. While Middle-earth is filled with all sorts of strange sentient beings, though, we think there's only one answer to the question of what this new monster is: They have a Cave Troll.

Trolls show up frequently in Tolkien's work

The mysterious monster that's making us pause and take a closer look at our screens shows up in "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" trailer around the 40-second mark (via YouTube). The young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) carries a torch through the interior of what looks to be a cavernous mountain. She seems to stumble upon a beast in repose but, once she disturbs it, the creature rears up and seems ready to devour her. What little we see of the monster reveals it has tusks on either side of its face, a smooth, round head, and it looks to be wearing something.

At first glance, it doesn't take much to peg the creature in the image as a Troll, and a Cave Troll, in particular. Its large size, animalistic bellow, and cave-like surroundings all scream "This is a Cave Troll." If the looks aren't quite what fans have gotten used to seeing on screen, let's think about how varied the Trolls are in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogies. We meet the talkative Stone Trolls in "The Hobbit." There is a Troll chieftain in front of the Black Gate in "The Return of the King." A Cave Troll is in the attack on Balin's tomb in Moria in "The Fellowship of the Ring." Each of these beasts looks different; it seems J.R.R. Tolkien didn't have a single, uniform vision for Trolls.

In the appendix to "The Return of the King," the author briefly describes their origin, saying, "In their beginning far back in the twilight of the Elder Days, these were creatures of dull and lumpish nature and had no more language than beasts." This leads to a sort of Trollish evolution over time. Early Trolls are pretty stupid and animalistic. By the time of "The Hobbit," they can speak what Tolkien refers to as "a debased form of the Common Speech."

What other creatures could the monster be?

Of course, in spite of the evidence (and until we get some more context), it's difficult to be absolutely certain that the beast in "The Rings of Power" trailer is actually a Cave Troll. If that ends up not being true, there are still other options out there. For instance, there are many references to other vague, indescribable creatures. Bilbo cryptically refers to "Were-worms" in "The Hobbit." Giants are present on the periphery of that story, too.

But J.R.R. Tolkien goes even further, explaining that there's no limit to the number of nasty creatures that both Sauron and his original master, Morgoth, bred. In fact, in "The Silmarillion," just as the First Age ends and the Second Age begins, we get an unsettling line that Men in Middle-earth at the time "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. And the lot of Men was unhappy."

This line is written describing the beginning of the Second Age where the show will start. And did you catch that little bit about "misshapen beasts"? Yeah, talk about an open-ended description. While our money is on the fact that we're all looking at a Troll in the trailer, if it ends up being some other twisted and deformed product of either of the Dark Lords, it wouldn't surprise us one bit.