The Rings Of Power's Daniel Weyman Didn't Know Who The Stranger Was Until The Season Finale, Either

Spoilers follow for the eighth episode of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

The season finale of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is finally upon us, and with it came a bevy of reveals that set up an even more daring future for the series. The twists and turns in the story were not that far off from expectations, but it was still surreal to see them come to fruition. And we're not the only ones who had to wait until the finale to find everything, too. One of the actors behind the biggest reveal of the series had no idea who they are playing before filming this week's finale. 

A major point of contention since the very first episode has been the true identity of the Stranger (Daniel Weyman). We've had our fair share of theories about him, but none had been confirmed until now. While the episode initially leads us to believe he is the Dark Lord Sauron, it's revealed that he is an Istar, a wizard sent from the stars. In hindsight, his stature, inherently good nature, and close relationship with the harfoots make it clear who he was all along — Gandalf.  

Shockingly enough, the actor behind the long beard and thin robe did not know the character's real nature until the season finale. And while Weyman acknowledges his excitement upon finding out, he remains tight-lipped about the Stranger's true name. Despite the clues, there is actually a possibility he may not be Gandalf, even if it's unlikely. 

'I am good'

In an interview with Collider, Weyman discussed his experience finding out the truth behind the Stranger while reading the finale script:

"That was incredible because I hadn't known. They hadn't told me one way or the other, and they kept this script back. And I read episode eight with Markella who plays Nori, and I'm so thankful to have been working with her so much. But as we read it side by side, both on different iPads going through it, and we got to that part, my chin hit the floor, and we sort of looked at each other. And I mean, you can hear the excitement in my voice now. Our eyes were of almost wet with ludicrously excited tears. It was just crazy."

Although the reveal was surprising to Weyman, his emotional reaction speaks to the path his character had already been on. After trekking across Middle-earth with Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and her band of harfoots, the Stranger chose the light in the face of darkness. The journey led to the moment of forging his own destiny, triumphantly revealing to the cult, "I am good." By raising the staff handed to him by his harfoot friend, he rid the evil that nearly coaxed him into believing he was Sauron. The moment is not fixated on his real identity, but on the direction of his soul.

Now that we know he is a wizard, it's almost logical to conclude Weyman has been playing Gandalf all this time. However, the actor won't assume as much just yet.

A wizard, but which one?

In the canon, five wizards were sent to Middle-earth by Valar to assist the realm in its battle against Sauron. One of which was Gandalf, but "The Rings of Power" elects to only heavily hint at that possibility and not outright say it (they get pretty close, though). Weyman is convinced the series can go any which way they like with the Stranger, knowing how cloudy J.R.R. Tolkien's canon can be:

"Not only did he give us enough of basic source material to legitimately follow any one of those three strands that you just brought up, but he also contradicted himself enough, certainly towards those really later works that were not published by him. So, he wrote a huge amount that actually leaves quite a lot of scope for us to invent... It's like we are marking sort of stars in the sky, and then each different audience member is sort of drawing their own constellation. And for them, it is the true constellation. And I totally go with that."

A part of what makes the decision to introduce the Istar in "The Rings of Power" surprising is the lack of continuity in the timeline. The source material suggests the wizards only arrived in Middle-earth during the Third Age instead of the Second Age. However, Weyman has a point — some of the books can be contradictory at times. The series has already made it a goal to establish the details otherwise not fleshed out in the canon. Moving up the timeline of their arrival is not that far-fetched, and makes for a satisfying origin for Gandalf, or whoever the Stranger really is.

All episodes of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" are available on Amazon Prime Video.