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Rings of Power's Biggest Missed Casting Opportunity is a Stranger Things Actor

Rings of Power's Biggest Missed Casting Opportunity is a Stranger Things Actor
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Why does Sauron wear blue suede shoes? …because he's an Elvish impersonator.


  • Sauron has a new look in The Rings of Power season 2.
  • Fans of Tolkien's work will understand who this new persona is meant to be.
  • The show missed an opportunity by not recasting Sauron when he shapeshifted.
  • A familiar face from Stranger Things would have been a perfect pick.

Sauron Appears in The Rings of Power

It's probably not a huge spoiler to say that Sauron appears in Amazon Prime's new Tolkien series, The Rings of Power. First of all: Sauron is the Big Bad of Middle Earth. Second of all: the show did a terrible job of hiding the twist. And third of all: if you google the series, 'Sauron' appears on the cast list.

But when Sauron appears in season 2 of the show, he has a markedly different appearance. Gone is the cute, scruffy brunette of last season. So what happened to 'Halbrand'? And what's with the Elf cosplay?

Fans of the Tolkienverse are likely to know the answer – it seems that the show is introducing Annatar, an Elvish persona that Sauron assumes in order to achieve his goals. But while actor Charlie Vickers has been excellent from Day 1, the new disguise was an excellent opportunity to show the Dark Lord's slipperiness by giving him a whole new face.

And it should have been the most Elven of the Stranger Things cast.

Who Is Annatar?

In the lore of the Rings (okay okay, no more puns), Annatar is the form that Sauron assumes in order to deceive the Elves of Middle Earth.

The name Annatar translates to 'Lord of Gifts', which is exactly what Sauron pretends to be. He promises wisdom and glory for the Elves, who welcome the 'fellow Elf' into their homes. Once embedded amongst them, Sauron/Annatar tricks the Elves into creating the rings of power.

Not all of the Elves fall for Sauron's act, but while many (including Galadriel) suspect that there might be something else going on, none of them figure out the truth of Annatar's identity until it's too late.

Who is Halbrand?

Halbrand doesn't appear in Tolkien's novels, but he was season one's answer to much of the Annatar mythology. The two personas have marked differences: most importantly, the fact that Annatar is an Elf and Halbrand is a human.

Rings of Power's Biggest Missed Casting Opportunity is a Stranger Things Actor - image 1

Annatar presents himself as a selfless being, motivated by knowledge and offering only to bring gifts to the Elves. Halbrand is a member of the more self-centered race of men. Ironically, this makes it much easier to trust him as a character.

Look At That Face

It's understandable that even with Sauron shapeshifting into an 'Elf', (it's a trap!) the series would want to keep the character consistent. Still… pointed elfin chin? Narrow elfin face? Luscious blonde locks? A secret plan to use his superhuman powers to dominate the world? A fake warm exterior hiding the cold heart of a psycho?

Sound familiar, Stranger Things fans?

With all due respect to the terrific Vickers, Sauron is a shapeshifter. He shouldn't just have a makeover, he should have a whole new face. And who better than Jamie Campbell Bower, who fooled us all in Stranger Things Season 4 before being revealed as the statistic Vecna?

Rings of Power's Biggest Missed Casting Opportunity is a Stranger Things Actor - image 2

Elves are supposed to be the wisest creatures in Middle Earth. It's going to be hard to take them seriously if they can't see past a blonde wig. And yes – spells, glamour, magic, etc. But by replacing the actor entirely, the show could have fooled the audience along with the Elves. It would also set up an exciting element moving forward if ANY new face could be Sauron each season.

Love ya, Vicky. But this was a missed opportunity.