So could the Stranger really be a Wizard? Well, if he is, it marks a major change from what we know of Tolkien’s own lore—after all, The Rings of Power is set during the Second Age, and as previously mentioned, in the books the Wizards appeared on Middle-earth in the Third. Once Sauron was defeated and the Fourth Age began, what we know of the Wizards is brief: Gandalf returned with the Elves to the undying lands of Valinor, Saruman was dead, and Radagast, Pallando, and Alatar’s fates were largely left unknown.
But considering how the Maiar are immortal spirits, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to make the Stranger one of them—perhaps an early form that falls at some point in between the Second and Third Ages that is eventually reborn again. After all, there have been inklings that they could be a supernatural being of some sort: falling from the sky in a meteor (and living to tell the tale) aside, the Stranger has exhibited strange powers, from communicating with fireflies to having some implied abilities of telekinetic influence of nature—like the moment the Stranger snaps a tree branch, just as Nori’s father, some distance away, breaks his ankle setting up a Harfoot structure.
But if the Stranger is one of the Wizards, which could he be? Gandalf seems like the obvious choice, of course—and especially so considering that landing near, and being cared for, by the diminutive Harfoots could explain his eventual kinship with the Hobbits later down the line. Given his connection to the natural world, it’s equally possible he could be Radaghast, who was known for his love of nature. But pretty much every Wizard is an intriguing option: a chance to see a pre-villainy Saruman at his peak could be a fascinating idea, as would be the chance to explore the lives of Alatar and Pallando, who largely remained mysterious even in Tolkien’s own works.