The early trailers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power have been packed full of images and characters familiar to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. From shots of the island kingdom of Númenor to moments from the First Age, Amazon’s teasers have shown fans moments they’ve been thinking about for decades.
However, the show’s trailers have also featured newly created characters and storylines, including three mysterious, white-cloaked figures. Following their first appearance in The Rings of Power’s Comic-Con trailer, rumors began swirling that the trio’s leader may be none other than Sauron.
While it’s looking like that isn’t actually the case, the intimidating Rings of Power trio still appears to be connected to Sauron in one important way.
The Cult of Melkor — Right now, very little is known about the three cloaked figures featured in the two most recent Rings of Power trailers.
However, fans are convinced they may be members of the Cult of Melkor, Middle-earth’s first Dark Lord and Sauron’s former master. Melkor was cast out of Middle-earth at the end of the First Age, but his impact on Tolkien’s world is still felt during the Second Age, which is when The Rings of Power is set.
The worship of Melkor (also known as Morgoth) plays a pivotal role in one of Tolkien’s Second Age storylines. That fact, combined with the priestess-esque design of one member’s costume, makes it seem like The Rings of Power’s most mysterious trio may indeed be followers of Melkor.
Hiding in the Shadows — In the aftermath of Melkor’s defeat, Sauron spent about 500 years lying low in Middle-earth. When he finally came out of the shadows, he began to secretly corrupt the Men of Middle-earth and lure them into his service.
Later, Sauron again uses Melkor’s legacy to his advantage. Seeking to destroy the greatest threat to his growing power within Middle-earth, Sauron convinces the king of a powerful nation to begin worshiping Melkor. Sauron subsequently names himself the High Priest of the Cult of Melkor and leads the nation’s people into a moral downward spiral that culminates in human sacrifice.
It would therefore make sense for Sauron to use any remaining Melkor worshippers in Middle-earth to help him gain power. Not only is there canonical evidence to back that theory up, but it also seems far more likely that these three characters are on a mission from Sauron rather than Sauron himself being one of them.
The Inverse Analysis — We’ll have to wait until The Rings of Power premieres to find out whether the figures shown above really are Melkor cultists. The trio’s leader certainly looks like they could pass as a cult leader, so fans should probably prepare themselves for the possibility that Sauron may already be recruiting his former master’s worshippers by the time The Rings of Power begins.
Right now, that theory seems more likely than any of the others surrounding The Rings of Power’s strange and imposing new trio.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Friday, September 2 on Prime Video.