An Unexpected Journey

The Rings of Power Season 2 is recasting one of its best villains

Goodbye to a really good Bad Guy.

The Rings of Power’s cast just got some exciting new additions for its forthcoming second season, which is currently in production in the U.K.

The Lord of the Rings prequel series, a gorgeous show set over a thousand years prior to Frodo Baggins’ unexpected journey, will be getting six additional cast members ... and one replacement for a distinctive Season 1 cast member.

The new cast members are Gabriel Akuwudike (Hanna), Yasen ‘Zates’ Atour (The Witcher), Ben Daniels (The Crown), Nia Towle (Persuasion), Nicholas Woodeson (Paddington 2), and Amelia Kenworthy, the latter of whom will be making her on-screen debut in The Rings of Power. Thus far, we have no idea who these newbies will be playing, but look forward to more Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Men, and yes, even Orcs, in the show’s sophomore season.

But speaking of Orcs, the most shocking announcement today from Amazon Prime Video was the replacement of Joseph Mawle as Orc leader and “fallen Elf,” Adar. He has been recast and will be played by Sam Hazeldine, who starred as one of the leads in the criminally underrated Netflix supernatural series The Innocents.

Mawle, who is also known for his portrayal of Uncle Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones, took to Twitter to express his well wishes to the cast and crew, as well as to cryptically state that it remains in his job description “to explore new characters and worlds.” Hmm. Could Mawle have been scooped up for another genre series? The answer is, as of now, unclear, but Mawle’s bone-chilling performance as the corrupted Adar will remain a memorable one.

Adar became an increasingly important character as the season went on — first, as the captor of Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and the “father” to a legion of Orcs; then as the initiator of civil dispute among the Southlanders and harbinger of destruction; and finally, the proclaimed first king of Mordor.

Joseph Mawle’s Adar was a scene-stealer in The Rings of Power. Amazon Prime Video

Mordor, as we know, is one of the most important realms throughout all of the Lord of the Rings properties, given its reputation as the base of Sauron’s nefarious evildoings. Adar and Sauron (Charlie Vickers) have some unresolved beef that occurred prior to Season 1. Season 2 could either get into Adar and Sauron’s reconciliation, leading Adar to peacefully step down and let Sauron take his throne — or, more plausibly, some epic battles are going to go down between the two dark lords.

Given that Adar is one of The Rings of Powers’ biggest (and most interesting) villains, recasting his actor is yet another risky move for a show that spent its debut boldly breaking records as one of the most expensive series to ever be produced, as one of the least faithful on-screen interpretations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, as one of the most diversely cast Lord of the Rings properties, and as the top original series on Amazon Prime Video in every region the platform is available.

“We welcome these wonderful actors to our ‘fellowship’ and look forward to telling more incredible Second Age stories in season two,” Vernon Sanders, Head of Global Television, Amazon Studios, said in a press statement.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 is available to stream now on Amazon

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