Full spoilers follow for episode 8 of The Rings of Power, aka Alloyed.
The Rings of Power showrunners have revealed that Sauron’s big reveal was almost spoiled by a specific creative decision made during the development of Episode 2.
Speaking at a preview of Episode 8 of The Rings of Power, which took part in, co-creators JD Payne and Patrick McKay explained that the identity of The Lord of the Rings’ main antagonist was nearly ruined in a much earlier episode. The reason? A specific scene from the high fantasy Prime Video series filmed by episode 2 director JA Bayona almost gave away the game.
Major spoilers are coming. Check back now if you haven’t watched the latest episode of The Rings of Power!
As viewers may have learned by now, Charlie Vickers’ Halbrand was a nickname for Sauron all along. The Dark Lord himself had been disguised as the so-called King of the Southern Lands from the moment he met Galadriel, with the two of them first crossing paths on a raft in episode 2 of The Rings of Power.
However, as Payne and McKay reminded us, the first photo we see of Halbrand is Vickers, who has his back to the camera, turning his head to cast a glance at Galadriel as she asks to board the temporary ship. According to the duo, Bayona filmed that brief scene in such a way that only one of Halbrand’s eyes is visible to viewers.
It is a shot that acts as a clear call back to the Eye of Sauron, which is the only part of the Dark Lord’s essence that remains – in the Third Age of Middle-earth – after his defeat at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. . . Payne and McKay, however, were concerned that Bayona’s creative choice would ruin the big surprise surrounding Halbrand’s true identity. So much so, in fact, they asked Bayona to film a different version of Halbrand’s intro.
“We were freaking out for people to come and see and work [Halbrand’s real identity] out,” Payne said. “We asked JA to change it, but he said, ‘Nobody will notice!’ Fortunately, they didn’t.”
As Payne has noted, very few – if any – viewers of Rings of Power have noticed the obvious reference to Halbrand’s true form. So while fans had suspected Halbrand really was Sauron for a long time, that made his eventual reveal even more shocking at the end of The Rings of Power season one.
The release of Episode 8 was also a huge relief for the cast of the Prime Video show. With season one filming starting in February 2020, the show’s main stars have had to keep this secret for over two and a half years, as Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) and Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo) exclusively told us in early October.
For Vickers, Clark and Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), this particular burden of Sauron was finally lifted. And, speaking exclusively to ahead of the release of Episode 8, the trio were notably much more relaxed about the entire ordeal.
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“It’s cool!” Vickers calmly told us. “But it’s a strange feeling. When you push, you get so used to talking about it in a certain way. Obviously, you have to be careful what you’re saying. Halbrand has manifested into something very real in my discussions, but It’s good to talk about everything underneath it now.”
“I had my suspicions from the start!” said Clark. “And I know Charlie did too, because he was asked to read something that was basically like a devil’s speech. So it’s like, ‘Hmm, that sounds really bad.’ I would be terrified if I had such a big secret.”
“It’s really weird [to discuss Sauron]” Edwards added. “You know, we’ve had to carry this weight on our shoulders for so long. It’s a blessing to finally have him in the world.”
For more exclusive Rings of Power content, find out when Vickers knew he would be playing Sauron, or learn all about This one Strangest revelation of the series’ cast.