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New Tagline For Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Means More Than You Think

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is going to explore a hitherto underdeveloped area of J.R.R. Tolkien's world. The ridiculously expensive budget (albeit justifiably so, per "Rings of Power" showrunner JD Payne) sets the stage for a production for the ages. We've heard of massive practical effects mixed with detailed CGI. World building will take place from one end of Middle-earth to the other — not just in Tolkien's typical east and west-focused directions, either, but from the bitter cold of the northern Forodwaith to the blistering heats of the Sunlands at the bottom of the compass, too. Along with world-building and setting the stage for the giant five-season story to come, Season 1 will also introduce us to the bulk of the project's massive 22-character cast. As we parse through the list of both foreign and familiar faces, one that doesn't seem likely to appear is the Dark Lord himself. At least, not right away.

Rumors have swirled for a long time now suggesting that Sauron, who is Tolkien's main villain of the Second Age and the presumptive primary antagonist of the "Rings of Power," will likely be absent in Season 1. Other names have been put forward as possible alternatives, like Joseph Mawle's mysterious Adar, a character possibly made up specifically as a baddie for the beginning of the show.

The knowledge that Sauron may not be a factor when the story starts generally put the kibosh on a lot of the speculation about his influence on the show's earlier events. All the same, regardless of his participation or lack thereof, a recent teaser released by Amazon Studios may cryptically hint at the Dark Lord's character arc, at least if Tolkien's source material has anything to say on the matter.

The new Rings of Power teaser references the origin of evil

On June 27, a quick 15-second clip was released on the Instagram and Twitter accounts for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." The clip features a few already-used shots recycled into a quick montage with music and a few lines of text laid over the footage. Those enigmatic locutions read thus: "Nothing is evil in the beginning."

That's it. No more clues about who or what goes from innocent to evil. At least, until we turn to J.R.R. Tolkien's own words for a little guidance. In "The Fellowship of the Ring," Elrond states these exact words. During the pivotal council scene, the Elven Lord of Rivendell says, "For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so." The words refer to the corrupting power of the Ring, even on those who take it with good intentions.

The fact that the quote references Sauron is notable. Tolkien makes it clear Sauron was not always evil. Sure, he was corrupted very early in Middle-earth history, but he starts as a good guy. What's more, it says in "The Silmarillion" that when the Second Age begins, Sauron actually repents of his crimes and tries to turn over a new leaf. He ends up panicking and slowly turning back to his evil ways, but the fact still stands. Like Gollum, Sauron almost turns away from evil. Based on the "Rings of Power's" cryptic message and its verbatim words in "The Lord of the Rings," the question has to be asked: Is Sauron going to start as a good guy in the show? And if he does, is it going to take us multiple seasons to start to see him turn to the dark side? Only time will tell.