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Rings of Power has a Gandalf problem — 2 mysterious characters can fix it

Here’s how The Rings of Power can still include a Wizard (or two).

There aren’t many characters in the Lord of the Rings who carry quite as much weight — or fandom love — as Gandalf. The character is one of the wisest that J.R.R. Tolkien ever created, and his magical abilities make him a formidable force for good in Middle-earth. It’s for those reasons that Amazon has a bit of a problem with its Lord of the Rings prequel series, The Rings of Power.

While the upcoming TV series does have the chance to bring several beloved Tolkien stories to life on-screen, none of them include Gandalf. That’s because The Rings of Power will be set primarily in the Second Age of Middle-earth, and Gandalf doesn’t come to the land until its Third Age.

Fortunately, Gandalf’s absence during the Second Age doesn’t mean The Rings of Power has to premiere with a Wizard-shaped hole in its ensemble. In fact, there are actually two characters who can fill this particular void.

Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Saruman (Christopher Lee) in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.New Line Cinema

The Theory — Tolkien fans know that there were five Istari (a.k.a. wizards) who were sent to Middle-earth to help its citizens combat Sauron’s corruptive influence. Three of them — Sauron, Saruman, and Radagast — all came to Middle-earth together.

However, Tolkien wrote later in his life that the remaining two Istari traveled to Middle-earth in the Second Age, around the same time that Glorfindel did. Little is known about the other two Wizards outside the fact that they wore blue clothing and were sent to the Eastern and Southern regions of Middle-earth in order to subdue some of Sauron’s support in those lands.

This means that The Rings of Power could include Tolkien’s two Blue Wizards at some point, and even use their journey as a way to further explore little-known regions of Middle-earth.

Just because The Rings of Power can’t bring Ian McKellen back as Gandalf doesn’t mean it can’t try to make up for his absence with certain other characters.Warner Bros. Pictures

Introducing the Blue Wizards — There’s already been a fair amount of speculation over whether The Rings of Power will use Middle-earth’s Blue Wizards. There are several mysterious, unidentified characters shown in the first Rings of Power teaser, and fans have understandably been quick to theorize that one of them could be a Blue Wizard.

Additionally, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Rings of Power showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay were asked if the Amazon series will break Tolkien canon by bringing Saruman, Gandalf, or Radagast to Middle-earth before the Third Age. McKay’s response was interesting, as he said those three Wizards are “not the only beings … in that class” and teased “the mystery and the journey of it is all of the fun.”

The Blue Wizards are the only other members of the Istari outside of Saruman, Gandalf, and Radagast. So if The Rings of Power wants to feature the Istari without breaking Tolkien canon, the Blue Wizards are the only characters it could include. Unsurprisingly, that seems to be something both McKay and Payne understand.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Sylvester McCoy as Radagast in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.Warner Bros. Pictures

The Inverse Analysis — Amazon is being very secretive about The Rings of Power. Only a select number of the show’s characters have been officially confirmed by the streaming service, and there are still plenty of cast members whose roles in The Rings of Power remain unknown.

As a result, while there’s plenty of reason to believe they actually will be in the show, Tolkien fans may just have to wait until The Rings of Power’s September premiere to find out whether the Blue Wizards have a presence in it.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres September 2, 2022 on Prime Video.