In a first-look profile of Amazon’s eagerly anticipated The Lord of the Rings TV series, The Rings of Power, the project’s creative team had some words about online trolls who have been outraged that the show will feature a far more diverse cast than Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films.
“It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of [author J.R.R.] Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like,” executive producer Lindsey Weber told Vanity Fair, which also published several new photos from the series. “Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about his fictional races doing their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.”
Added Tolkien scholar Mariana Rios Maldonado, “Who are these people that feel so threatened or disgusted by the idea that an elf is Black or Latino or Asian?”
The story follows the Second Age of Middle-earth’s history and includes storylines about an elf named Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova — the first person of color to play a Tolkien elf onscreen — and a dwarven princess named Disa, played by Sophia Nomvete — the franchise’s first female dwarf, as well as the first Black woman to play a LOTR dwarf. In addition, there are familiar characters such as younger versions of elven favorites Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo).
Two types of beloved characters have been restricted from the series, however: Wizards and hobbits, “who weren’t major players in the Second Age.” The production will still have hobbits, of a sort, by including hobbit ancestors called harfoots, but they will have a peripheral story “in the margins of the bigger quests.”
Major settings in the show include the dwarf mines of the Misty Mountains (at the height of its glory before it fell into darkness and ruin), the elven kingdom of Lindon, and the island of Númenor. There are more new details about the series in the VF profile.