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Nobody knows what Sauron looks like in The Rings of Power

But we all have some guesses

Bridie Sisson, a blond-haired actor, with a gray shawl draped over the back of her head, looks suspicious in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Image: Amazon Studios
Zosha Millman (she/her) manages TV coverage at Polygon as TV editor, but will happily write about movies, too. She’s been working as a journalist for more than 10 years.

San Diego Comic-Con has given us another look at Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and it is... good? While the world of IP-driven properties has to work harder these days to get any of us purely excited, The Rings of Power’s latest trailer was bursting with glimpses into J.R.R. Tolkien’s world that felt thrilling and tactile, a return to a Middle-earth we could reach out and touch.

The new SDCC trailer shows us Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) as she attempts to wake people up to the Dark Lord, who she fears will threaten the realm. We also see dwarves in Moria before it fell, elves recovering from a long war, humans starting a new civilization, and hobbits keeping to themselves. Amid it all, there’s a man (Anson Boon) sowing seeds of fire, lurking in a gray cloak and generally looking like he’s up to no good. The internet rushed to fill in the blank: This was our first glimpse of Sauron, the big bad who’s gathering power during the Second Age. But the truth is... that’s not (yet) true.

The trailer is, clearly, setting up this Marshall Mathers lookalike to be someone, though there’s no confirmation yet on who exactly Boon is playing. Put differently: It’s very likely the trailer was trying to set us up to think of Boon’s character as Sauron. But even if he is Sauron, he’s definitely not the flaming eyeball that Lord of the Rings fans are familiar with from Peter Jackson’s film trilogy.

The problem with finding Sauron in any trailer for The Rings of Power is that back in the Second Age, he went by the name Annatar and could shapeshift liberally, a power he used to hide his evil nature for as long as possible. He’s described in the books as the “Lord of Gifts,” and as having a fair (meaning pale, but also pretty) appearance, which Boon’s character — whoever it may be — certainly does. And with that fair face, Sauron manipulated the elven smith Celebrimbor into teaching him how to make a ring that could manipulate the minds of those who held Celebrimbor’s Rings of Power, which, as we know, led to a whole thing.

The creative team behind The Rings of Power has said that in this series, we’ll be seeing Sauron in multiple forms as he tries to assume total power over Middle-earth. So while Boon might be Sauron in some sense, he could also be an underling, an emissary, or even some minor villain completely unattached to the Great Evil that Galadriel is trying to raise the alarm about. Exactly how she succeeds (or doesn’t) remains to be seen — but given that the SDCC panel had Stephen “LOTR nerd” Colbert saying that The Rings of Power is a “story the creators are going to tell over the next five seasons,” it seems likely we’ll find out eventually.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Sept. 2 on Amazon Prime Video.

You can find all of Polygon’s coverage of SDCC 2022 news, trailers, and more here.

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