Director Wayne Che Yip Interview: LOTR Rings Of Power Episode 5

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 5 made some major introductions, dove deep into the show’s mythology, and set up the final three episodes for a grand finale. With Rings of Power season 1 already past the halfway point and Galadriel, Halbrand, and the Númenoreans heading to Middle-earth, the show’s various plotlines look set to collide. Additionally, three hooded figures—the Nomad, the Dweller, and the Ascetic (one of which was thought to be Sauron when shown in the trailers)—were introduced and seemingly looking for Nori, the Harfoots, and their unlikely companion, the Stranger. Meanwhile, in the Southlands, Adar and his band of orcs are preparing to wage battle with those stuck in the tower, including Bronwyn and Arondir.

The Rings of Power has taken its time in setting the vast world of Middle-earth and beyond, but it looks set to pay off in the final three hours of the season. Director Wayne Che Yip has helmed episodes 3 through 5, and he will also helm the finale set to premiere on October 14.

Screen Rant caught up with Yip after the premiere of The Rings of Power episode 5 and, among other things, he teased the epic nature of the final three episodes, explained that Balrog and mithril scene, and confirmed that season 1 will reveal the identities of those mysterious cloaked figures.

We’re past the halfway point of season 1, and things are really starting to come together. You’ve been entrusted with four out of eight episodes. What has it been like to see the finished product come together and just be out in the world?

Wayne Che Yip: Yeah, amazing. We shot it [and] finished principal photography such a long time ago, over a year ago. And, in a way, it was almost great to have a bit of distance from it and to sort of see it or slowly come together. But then, nothing really prepares you for when you finally see it with all the polish and the music and the incredible visual effects. It’s been a really special experience every, every week, to see each one of these come out.

You got to go all over the place – you shot in the Southlands, Númenor, Khazad-dûm. I know it’s difficult but did you have a favorite location or section of Middle-earth to film in?

Wayne Che Yip: I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but Númenor in reality was right next to Khazad-dûm, I have to say. I’d love to say that we actually bore out the middle of a mountain and built Khazad-dûm there, but we didn’t. Looking back, it felt like I had shot five different shows, five different almost movies in one. Each one of those worlds could have been its own show. To be able to kind of go between all the different places was incredible, but also interesting in the way that, ultimately, we were looking for sort of familiarity amongst all the different races. What places of camaraderie, companionship, and friendship do they find amongst the different races?

That was something that was always fascinating. When you go to a different place, and you see something, you’re like, « Oh my God, that’s like what we do. » Those are those kind of magical moments where you get to experience how a different culture and a different race does something that’s very similar to what you do back home. And so I think the opportunity to not only go and see the kind of incredible, big things but to see the some of the roles, smaller day-to-day things.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of episode 5, we get some big introductions. We finally see the Dweller, Nomad, and the Ascetic, characters that are sort of hot on the trail of the Stranger and the Harfoots. Can you talk a little bit about that scene, getting to introduce these characters, and what it might mean for the rest of the season?

Wayne Che Yip: What I fear [is] that anything that I say is gonna give that bit way, just because there’s because… It’s meant to be a little tease for the second half of the season. And so, I don’t feel I can say anything without massively spoiling what’s to come. But needless to say, it was exciting to introduce a different culture and a different race of people that have been mentioned in the text but never seen.

Would it be fair to say we will definitely be learning who they are by the end of the season and a little bit more about them?

Wayne Che Yip: Oh, yeah, we will know exactly who they are and where they come from, which plays a big part in that particular storyline.

We also get a retcon almost with the mithril [and] Balrog scene. What kind of discussions were had when it came to crafting this scene and this part of the story for the show? Will we learn how that Silmaril ended up where it did?

Wayne Che Yip: There was one Silmaril that was never really accounted for. And so this was us sort of thinking about what possibly could have happened to it. Part of what makes mithril special could be because of the fact that it might contain the light of the Silmaril. Again, it was sort of like a lot of great myths and great stories, they kind of hint to ideas of what could be, infusing things with the possibility of something magical. And then it’s down to the discovery of whether that’s true or not. But we thought, JD and Patrick had the beautiful idea that that could be, again, a possibility. And so, part of the season is the exploration as to whether that’s true or not.

Speaking of tying things together, you also are directing the finale. And obviously, you can’t say anything about any spoilers or anything, but in directing episodes, 3, 4, and 5, did it make it a little less daunting bringing all these stories to a head?

Wayne Che Yip: Um, no [laughs]. Now that 3, 4, and 5 are there, you can sort of see the small story within the larger season. It’s sort of a Númenor story. It’s sort of the human characters Bronwyn and Arondir, what happens to Arondir meeting Adar, and then ending up in the tower. And then for Nori and the Stranger to bond and then [be] left on a big question mark as to the true nature of the Stranger – whether he is truly good, or whether he is evil, that kind of feels like that chapter is sort of concluded in 3, 4, and 5. And then, for 6 and 7, we now kind of begin a fresh chapter and to kind of understand what now happens in the next stage of each one of these stories. So in a way, like in these massive shows, storylines are sort of concluded at slightly different times of the season. So the finale is the finale, but I almost feel like the last three episodes are almost one giant finale split into three different sections, which I think will make more sense once you’ve seen the rest of the season.

Yeah, I saw the preview for episode 6, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it.

Wayne Che Yip: In many ways, we approach the season like one giant film that’s just divided into eight sections. So you couldn’t conclude a story this large in one episode. So yeah, I think the finale is the finale [but] in a way it’s already started.

New episodes of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiere on Prime Video on Fridays.