Sauron Won't Appear In The Rings Of Power As You Remember Him In The Lord Of The Rings

TV's hottest club is "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." This show has everything: dwarf couples goals, sexy elves, sinister shadow swords that are powered by blood, Rube Goldberg machines that activate dormant volcanoes, and so many dark lord Saurons you will lose count after a while. Of course, that last part is only true if you believe the many, many internet rumors that point a finger at a new character every week accusing them of being Morgoth's lieutenant and the future forger of the One Ring.

Indeed, while "The Rings of Power" does a great job of capturing the essence of Tolkien's writing, his sense of environmentalism, his anti-war beliefs, his sense of doom, and his love of walking songs, one aspect of the show that would seem to run contrary to the writing of Tolkien is the mystery box surrounding the appearance of Sauron

Despite telling us from the very first episode that he is around and will be important, the rest of the show so far has played very coy with the identity of Sauron, almost to the level of how "Star Trek Into Darkness" tried to hide Khan. We don't know yet when Sauron will appear, but we do know one thing: when he does, he will not yet be the same all powerful dark lord clad in armor from the movies.

Is this Sauron?

Though a mystery box seems strange for the world of "The Lord of the Rings," there is a reason for it to exist in "The Rings of Power." As showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay told The Hollywood Reporter, they wanted to avoid making this "The Sauron Show" by focusing on the iconic villain from the very beginning. 

Indeed, when the show was announced as being set during the Second Age and being about the forging of the rings, many fans noted that this would make Sauron something of a protagonist, at least from the shadows. After all, most of the major events from this era are directly caused or influenced by Sauron himself. The moment we see Sauron is the moment he overshadows all other characters. But that's not what "The Rings of Power" showrunners have in mind.

"We wanted you to fall in love again with Middle-earth," McKay said. "We wanted you to understand and relate to the struggles that each of these characters are having before we test them in a way they've never been tested before."

But once he does appear, don't count on Sauron to look like the iconic flaming eye on a tower like in "The Lord of the Rings" movies. This Sauron will "fair form" — which means, yes, he could be anyone.

Am I Sauron?

But it wasn't enough to just not show Sauron from the beginning, the show also had to sell the idea of Sauron being a formless shadow looming large over Middle-earth and inspiring fear and mistrust. This is just what the endless speculation over the show's portrayal of Sauron has inspired — for the audience to see the dark lord everywhere.

"It's another Tolkien thing where when a shadow spreads — which is part of what is happening in our show — it affects everyone's relationships," co-showrunner Payne said to The Hollywood Reporter, citing Frodo and Sam's fights and mistrust in the original trilogy as an example. "Having an audience suspect this person or that person could be Sauron is drawing them into that thing where the shadow is overcoming all of us and making us suspicious of each other."

Well, it is working. No matter how many people believe his tales about being a king of the Southlands, I do not trust "I'm not evil, I swar" Halbrand, or even The Stranger. Just like he is doing on the show, Sauron is casting a large shadow over "The Rings of Power.