The fact that Season 2 of “The Rings of Power” could feature Narvi and Celebrimbor building the Doors of Durin together is kind of a big deal. There’s no doubt that “The Rings of Power” marches to the beat of its own Middle-earth drum. Even so, when new creative minds work on adaptations within larger “universe” IPs (collaborative spaces like “Star Wars,” the MCU, and Middle-earth), it’s important to link new creations to past content whenever possible. This fosters familiarity in the mind of the audience and, when done well, can deepen the overall experience.
The issue with connecting “The Rings of Power” to the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” stories that audiences already know is the fact that they’re set thousands of years apart. There are a few familiar faces, but these are primarily the handful of recognizable immortal beings that survive across the eons of time and space that J.R.R. Tolkien’s world encompasses. Galadriel is one of these. Sauron and Elrond are also characters that show up in both stories. If The Stranger ends up being a wizard we’ve already met, like Gandalf or Saruman, he would also be a connection.
There are also a few key items and locations that span both tales. The Rings of Power, themselves, are an obvious connection. Mount Doom is another, as is mithril. Apart from these occasional throughlines, though, most of the people, places, and things we’ve seen are either separate or, at the least, dramatically different between the two stories.