The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power release date draws ever closer. The latest trailer for the series showed a world on the edge of doom. Prime Video revealed more on Friday at a panel for the show in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con. The streamer brought a number of the huge cast of series regulars to the stage, as well as showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne and executive producer Lindsey Weber, to tell us more about The Rings of Power and the Second Age of Middle-earth. The host? None other than super Tolkien nerd Stephen Colbert. The panel also debuted a brand new The Rings of Power trailer, and this one reveals Sauron.

After series composer Bear McCreary opened the panel with a live performance, Colbert introduced the showrunners and executive producer. Payne emphasized that The Rings of Power is a human story. He said to think about the things that matter most to you, then imagine it’s all under threat. How far into the darkness would you go to protect the things you care about the most? And McKay added that for the first season, they wanted to reintroduce Middle-earth and the return of evil.

A fiery Balrog roars in the trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Prime Video

The Rings of Power trailer showed that return of evil, as whispers of Sauron float across Middle-earth. The Balrog appears at the end of the trailer. Visions of doom haunt Galadriel, as she considers the war behind them and the potential one on the horizon. We see what looks like Isildur’s blade. A mysterious comet. Sauron’s being very sneaky (just as he was in Tolkien’s text). He is clearly spreading discord, but he’s working from the shadows. Middle-earth has quite the looming threat, though not everyone knows it

Cast members Robert Aramayo (Endor), Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), Owain Arthur (Prince Durin IV), and Sophie Nomvete (Princess Disa) took the stage first among the cast. They shared some insights about their characters. Edwards said Celebrimbor is hung up on recreating Valinor in Middle-earth. He’s searching for something intangible. Celebrimbor’s internal uncertainty, his creative invalidity, makes him very vulnerable to predators. As the maker of the rings, Celebrimbor is key to the story. A clip showed off Elrond and Prince Durin IV’s friendship and the vast Khazad-dûm.

Sauron sneers in the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Prime Video

Another clip from the panel revealed The Stranger (Daniel Weyman). That comet we’ve seen burning over Middle-earth? It crashes near the Harfoots’ home and when they investigate, they discover a man in the crater: the Stranger. As he regains consciousness, the Stranger lifts the rocks from the earth around him. Weyman couldn’t share details besides that the Stranger “has a deep sense of purpose.”

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

Amy Ratcliffe is the Editor-in-Chief for Nerdist and the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy, The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, The Jedi Mind, and more Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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