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Lord Of The Rings’ Ismael Cruz Córdova Reveals ‘Vicious’ Backlash Since His Rings Of Power Casting And How He Has Been Handling It

Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power marks the first time that the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien has featured characters played by people of color. Among The Rings of Power cast is Ismael Cruz Córdova, an Afro-Latino actor who is playing the Silvan elf Arondir. Amidst the series' streaming success, Córdova has opened up about the "vicious" racist backlash he has received since being cast in the Lord of the Rings spinoff. 

Ismael Cruz Córdova was cast as the first elf played by a Latino actor in the Tolkien franchise back in 2020 and, as the actor recently revealed, since he was attached to Lord of the Rings, he has had “pure and vicious hate speech” pour into his social media DMs “nearly every day.” During his interview with Esquire, he also said this: 

I fought so hard for this role for this very reason. I felt that I could carry that torch. I made sure that my elf was the most Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming… You can never use it as an excuse: ‘But elves don’t look like that.’ They didn’t, but now they do.

Ismael Cruz Córdova was raised in Puerto Rico and became a LOTR fan as a teen but, in order to see the DVD for Fellowship of the Ring, he had to work multiple jobs himself to afford a TV and DVD player. Twenty years later, despite the adversity the actor, who has also starred in Sesame Street, Ray Donovan, The Mandalorian and The Undoing, gets to be part of the first series set in the beloved world. Talk about a serious come-up.

As the star shared, he was not surprised by the racism brought his way for being part of Lord of the Rings’ first racially-inclusive series. Though The Rings Of Power has a lot of positive reactions from audiences (including avid fans of the fantasy series), the series has also been review bombed for allegedly being “unfaithful” to the source material, with POC representation being some fans’ reasoning for disliking the series. 

Original Lord of the Rings hobbit actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan have since taken to social media to share on social media “You are all welcome here,” along with The Rings of Power social media account stating the creators “stand together in absolute solidarity” against the “relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse” some of the cast have experienced.

Whoopi Goldberg also commented on the Rings backlash, telling those that have a problem with it to “get a job” and “find yourself.” She made a point that many others are defending the casting with, “Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people too?” It certainly doesn’t add up that characters in a fantasy world would be confined to having one skin tone. Despite all of that though, it's just great to see Ismael Cruz Córdova succeeding in their roles amid the noise.

You can check out CinemaBlend’s The Rings of Power video interviews with Ismael Cruz Córdova and the rest of his co-stars and stream the series, which drops new episodes on Fridays, with an Amazon Prime subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.