The Rings of Power season 2 includes a fan-favorite character in a live-action Lord of the Rings project for the very first time

A close up of Arondir with his bow primed for action as Isildur stands in the background in The Rings of Power season 2
The Rings of Power season two will mark the live-action debut of the enigmatic Tom Bombadil. (Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

Spoilers follow for The Rings of Power season one.

Amazon has confirmed that a beloved The Lord of the Rings character will make their live-action debut in The Rings of Power season two.

Revealed in some exclusive first-look images published in Vanity Fair, which were also shared on Prime Video's social media channels, it was announced that none other than Tom Bombadil will appear in The Rings of Power's sophomore season. The enigmatic fan-favorite will be played by Rory Kinnear, who was among a number of big cast announcements that included Star Wars, James Bond and Harry Potter alumni for The Rings of Power's second season in March 2023.

Curiously, the debut image of the mystical, benevolent being shows him talking to The Stranger, who was all but confirmed to be one of The Lord of The Rings' Istari, aka one of the five wizards sent to Middle-earth to aid the world's many races in their fight against Sauron, in season one. 

The pair are seen conversing in a wooden hut – a far cry from the sand-filled landscape of Rhûn, which is where The Stranger and his Hobbit cohort Nori Brandyfoot were heading to in The Rings of Power's season one finale. However, co-showrunner Patrick McKay told Vanity Fair that the character dubbed 'Old Tom' actually meets the duo in Middle-earth's Eastern lands, saying: "In our story, he [Bombadil] has gone out to the lands of Rhûn, which we learn used to be sort of Edenic and green and beautiful, but now is sort of a dead wasteland. Tom has gone out there to see what’s happened as he goes on his various wanderings."

Kinnear's unveiling as Tom Bombadil comes two weeks after The Rings of Power season two's release and official trailer were revealed. Given the quick-paced nature of said teaser, I suspect you might have missed a few of its biggest surprises, too. Be sure to read my trailer breakdown article of The Rings of Power season two's first teaser to learn more about what's in store for viewers before the fantasy series is back on our screens.

Who is The Lord of the Rings' Tom Bombadil?

A mysterious individual who's said to have existed since life began on Middle-earth, Tom Bombadil has made fleeting appearances through Tolkien's vast literary works. Indeed, to many casual fans, he's someone who's known for his musical rhymes, brightly colored clothing and reluctance to get involved in landmark Middle-earth events. Long time Tokienities, however, will know that he's far more important to The Lord of the Rings' iconic world than most realize – but I'll refrain from spoiling anything significant here, just in case it's covered in the show's second season.

Anyway, 'Old Tom' is perhaps most well-known for his fleeting appearances in 'The Fellowship of the Ring', aka the first novel in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Here, he rescues Merry and Pippin from a life-threatening encounter with an enchanted tree known as Old Man Willow. 'Old Tom' comes to their aid after Frodo enlists his help, and he later invites the trio – alongside Samwise Gangee – to rest up at his unassuming home in another area of the Old Forest. There, he reveals that the One Ring has no effect on him, which shows how powerful he is, before dropping some knowledge bombs on Frodo about said piece of jewellery. He also saves the hobbits from barrow-wights a few days later, before escorting them to the borders of his land so they can continue their quest.

Given the sizeable gaps in Bombadil's backstory in the source material, The Rings of Power's showrunners have plenty of scope to explore his eons-long history in Amazon's prequel series. And, judging by what McKay and Payne told Vanity Fair (there's too much to cover here), they've had free reign to drop 'Old Tom' in wherever they feel like, especially as he's alive during all Four Ages of Middle-earth.

One final but no less interesting thing to note about 'Old Tom' is that, in Tolkien's literature, he has a shared history with Elrond and Gandalf. Could we see him cross paths with this pair in season two and beyond? I wouldn't bet against it.

We'll likely learn more about the characters that Kinnear's fellow season 2 newcomers will play in the lead-up to one of the best Prime Video shows' return. For now, here's the all-important information you need to know about when it'll be back: The Rings of Power season two will debut exclusively on Prime Video with a two-episode premiere on Thursday, August 29.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.