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Tom Bombadil, our favorite merry fellow, will show up in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2

His fit ain't looking as bright as expected though.

Tom Bombadil (Rory Kinnear) in The Rings of Power season 2
Image credit: Prime Video

It seems that marketing for the second season of Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is ramping up after this month's first teaser trailer, and now there's official confirmation that fan-favorite (but absent in live-action so far) character Tom Bombadil will show up.

Fan speculation about the merry - and extremely long-lived - man that dwelled in the Old Forest and his involvement in the show had been rampant for many months now, so this confirmation doesn't come as a huge surprise. yet the actor chosen to play him is a bit of a shock: Rory Kinnear (of recent Men fame), one of the most recognizable British faces in the business.

The series' social media channels and Vanity Fair jointly made the announcement on May 29 with an in-depth first look at Kinnear's take on the character and how showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have approached him.

Our first impression is positive overall, as Kinnear is one of the most flexible TV and movie actors working right now, yet Bombadil's clothes, commonly described as bright and very colorful, are looking a bit dark in these photos. Mind you, production stills are typically quite different in overall look from the deeply post-produced show/movie they belong to, even if old Tom is looking a bit more like another Istari rather than one of Tolkien's goofiest and most charismatic characters at current.

"There’s a reason why he hasn’t been in prior adaptations, because in some ways he’s sort of an anti-dramatic character," Payne told Vanity Fair. "He’s not a character who has a particularly strong agenda. He observes drama, but largely doesn’t participate in it." The co-showrunner goes on to explain how Bombadil's presence in The Fellowship of the Ring (the book) doesn't really add to the larger story being told, which is a pretty good explanation of why Peter Jackson didn't include him in his excellent big-screen adaptations. In fact, even Tolkien himself admitted Bombadil wasn't that important of a character in the grand scheme of the tale he was telling.

From a certain point of view, however, Bombadil's passiveness makes him more fascinating. The fact he's been around in Middle-earth for so long and seemingly holds great power without really taking part in world-reshaping events makes him one of the biggest mythical figures of that universe, and that's what attracted Payne and McKay to the idea of finally exploring him in live-action: "We started thinking, What does he care about? And how can that be a doorway to drama?" The choice to include him in the show feels like yet another difficult task the creators and writers want to tackle, and that sort of philosophy probably will make for a more interesting series in the long run than playing things completely safe.

The complete interview is well worth reading, especially if you're curious about the behind-the-scenes creative process of what's arguably the biggest blockbuster TV show we've ever seen. Of course, Amazon's efforts with the Middle-earth IP are completely separate from the upcoming Lord of the Rings-adjacent movies in the works at WB Discovery and New Line Cinema with Embracer as overseer.

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