In a surprising turn of events, Amazon has chosen to center its latest trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power around a plot point that not even diehard J.R.R. Tolkien fans know anything about: Meteor Man.
The new teaser trailer, which runs around a minute long, is essentially a montage of the series’ various characters as they all look up to watch a meteor streak across the sky. The meteor in question was briefly featured in the first trailer for The Rings of Power, as was the mysterious man (known unofficially as “Meteor Man”) that appears to come with it. However, the heavy emphasis on the meteor in the Lord of the Rings prequel series’ latest trailer suggests it will play a truly major role in the show’s story. That’s a bit surprising, considering that it appears to be one of the show’s original, non-canonical inventions.
However, one popular theory posits that The Rings of Power’s meteor strike may actually be just as important as this trailer suggests.
The Theory — For several months now, Lord of the Rings fans have tried their best to uncover the mystery of The Rings of Power’s non-canonical meteor strike. Consequently, what many have come to believe is that the meteor strike shown in the Rings of Power’s latest teaser is part of a grand ruse put on by the show’s central antagonist.
In this case, that villain is none other than Sauron, the Dark Lord whose actions throughout the Second Age of Middle-earth will supply The Rings of Power with many of its biggest moments and conflicts. Specifically, some Tolkien fans believe Sauron will pretend to “arrive” in Middle-earth on a meteor in an attempt to fool the continent’s citizens into believing he is someone sent by the world’s divine powers.
That would be in keeping with many of the canonically duplicitous actions Sauron makes throughout the Second Age.
A Well-Orchestrated Ruse — It’s worth noting that there is no canonical explanation for a Second Age meteor strike like the one seen in the first two Rings of Power teasers. Therefore, there’s not a lot of solid information one can use when speculating about the purpose of the plot beat in question. But that doesn’t mean fans are wrong to think that the man who comes with the meteor may very well be Sauron though.
After spending hundreds of years hiding in Middle-earth, Sauron eventually chose to reemerge around the midpoint of the Second Age. However, he only did so after putting on a fair form disguise and assuming the moniker of Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. As Annatar, Sauron tricked many of the Elves of Middle-earth into believing that he was a benevolent figure sent by the the Valar of the Undying Lands. Afterward, he further tricked Celebrimbor into forging the Rings of Power with him.
Taking all of that into account, pretending to be a man who fell to Middle-earth on a meteor would certainly do a lot to help sell Sauron’s image as someone sent by the Valar themselves. We also know that the Meteor Man will link up with the Harfoots early on in The Rings of Power, who so far appear to be the most trusting of the show’s races. Having Sauron, the epitome of evil and corruption, hang out with a bunch of hobbits at the start of The Rings of Power would be a neat bit of dramatic irony.
There is also a consensus among fans that the Meteor Man seen in the show’s trailers is actually a character known as “The Stranger,” who Amazon has already confirmed will be played in The Rings of Power by actor Daniel Weyman. The Stranger’s character poster, notably, shows him holding an apple. If The Stranger ends up being Sauron, this could be a Biblical bit of foreshadowing about the character’s true nature.
The Inverse Analysis — There are some Lord of the Rings fans who believe that the character known as Meteor Man is not actually Sauron but Gandalf or one of the two Blue Wizards. However, having any of those characters arrive via meteor during the Second Age would contradict Tolkien’s established canon far more severely than having Sauron pretend to fall to Middle-earth on a meteor. For that reason, when it comes to the identity of Meteor Man, Sauron seems like the most likely candidate.
Whether or not that’s who Meteor Man actually turns out to be in The Rings of Power remains to be seen. That said, having him literally crash land on Middle-earth would certainly be an impactful and unexpected way for the Lord of the Rings prequel series to introduce its biggest villain — even if it upsets some diehard Tolkien fans.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Friday, September 2 on Prime Video.