Amazon 'Lord of the Rings' Series Triggers Diversity Debate as Latino & Black Play Elf & Dwarf

CC0 / / The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
The much-awaited TV show "Rings of Power", based on the world of J.R.R.Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe, will be a look into the Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. Produced by Amazon, the show's estimated cost is more than $1 billion.
The upcoming series "Rings of Power", a prequel to the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy, will feature many new characters in a fresh view of Middle-earth's world. Among them are elves and dwarfs who aren't white - a move to add diversity to the screen adaptations earlier created by Peter Jackson... which predictably triggered heated debates.
On Thursday, several first look images from "Rings of Power" were released, providing a sneak peak into the Second Age of Middle-earth's history (that time period marked with the rise of Sauron and the emergence of the One Ring).
Particularly, one could become familiar with an elf named Arondir and dwarven princess named Disa, whose storylines will be included in the series.
Arondir is played Ismael Cruz Córdova, a native of Puerto Rico who will be the first Hispanic man to portray a Tolkien elf on screen, while Sophia Nomvete will be the first black woman to play a dwarf in Middle-earth. This is basically what has triggered a wave of what has already been dubbed "diversity backlash", with some Tolkien fans unable to condone the addition of people of colour to lore derived from England's Anglo-Saxon heritage.
Some of them were so disappointed with the upcoming reimagining of the Middle-earth that they felt like they are now on the dark side.
© Allum Bokhari/twitterscreenshot
screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
Another group of users, no less vocal and eager to debate, argued that certain worshippers of Tolkien's world appeared to have turned Twitter threads under the new shots to a "KKK rally" simply because of their inability to perceive diversity.
"Today I learned that Lord of the Rings fans are the most racist motherf**kers I have ever come across on this app," one user tweeted.
screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
© Hudu87/twitterscreenshot
screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
With the two camps relentlessly crossing their digital swords, a response to the backlash followed from the showrunners.
“It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like,” Lindsey Weber, an executive producer of the series, told Vanity Fair, which also has 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.”
Taking place centuries before the events of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit", "Rings of Power", according to the creators, is going to be an "epic drama" that “brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history." Aside from the new - and already controversial - characters, the viewers can find solace in those they are already familiar with, like royal elves Galadriel and Elrond.
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