The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2 is bringing a change in filming location, and The Stranger’s (Daniel Weyman) journey explains why. Much like The Lord of the Rings trilogy before it, Rings of Power season 1 was filmed in multiple locations across New Zealand. The natural beauty of New Zealand lent true magic to the world of Middle-earth; now, the franchise has begun filming at Bray Studios in the U.K. for The Rings of Power season 2.
Moving to a new filming location for The Rings of Power season 2 makes sense for multiple reasons. Mostly, filming at Bray Studios will be a little easier on the series’ already hefty budget — The Rings of Power season 1 cost an estimated $1 billion alone — but the move also makes sense considering The Stranger’s travels into Rhûn. While some were hesitant regarding the change, it pays tribute to the true essence of Tolkien lore. Showrunner Patrick McKay explains the reasoning behind the change in scenery. « Suffice to say in the story, in Tolkien’s world, journeys to other lands are a major recurring theme, » McKay said (via The Playlist). As The Stranger and Nori trek into lands that were never explored by Tolkien lore, a complete change in scenery would fit in perfectly with the events of Rings of Power season 2.
Much like the lands of Rhûn, the U.K. is uncharted territory for the Lord of the Rings franchise. This is why the change in filming location is so monumental; as the heroes leave behind the familiarity of Middle-earth, the production change itself will highlight the foreign lands where the heroes have found themselves. The sprawling greenery and bright scenery of Middle-earth will be traded for the dark and desolation of lands such as Mordor and the war-torn lands of Rhûn. Tolkien’s original writings also drew on the natural settings of the British Isles; now, The Rings of Power can pay homage to the original Tolkien with a brand-new adventure. The Rings of Power season 2 is still billed to run for eight episodes, the same as its predecessor.
The lands of Rhûn — or The East, in Common Tongue — are largely unexplored in Tolkien lore. The first Elves, Dwarves, and men awoke in the lands far east, and most trekked across the Sea of Rhûn to find their homes in Middle-earth. In the Second Age, Rhûn was occupied by the Easterling men, a handful of Dwarven clans, and Elves of the East known as Avari. Some Istari have visited Rhûn, but when Saruman returned to Middle-earth, the Blue Wizards decided to remain. The lands of Rhûn were largely in upheaval in the Second Age, with many factions fighting among themselves — until Sauron was able to unite them under his power through their hatred of the West. At least one Nazgûl, Khamûl the Easterling, hails from the lands of Rhûn.
While the change in filming location marks a major milestone for the Lord of the Rings franchise, it also serves to further develop the theme of the developing plot. The Rings of Power can take many creative liberties with the new lands of Rhûn, and the switch to the U.K. gives the production plenty of room to play around with those new liberties. As The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power follows The Stranger into the lands of Rhûn, there is no telling what our heroes may find waiting for them there.