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The Rings Of Power Cast Share Their Take On Diverse LOTR Casting Following Online Backlash

Ismael Cruz Córdova on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Ever since its highly watched and highly reviewed premiere, Rings of Power has faced review bombing and backlash greatly due to its diverse casting choices. The Lord of the Rings series' cast features multiple Black and Latino actors as elves, hobbits and more. With many speaking out in support of the actors, the show's actors themselves are now explaining their thoughts on the decision to have such a varied roster of performers. 

Many upset fans have taken to social media, arguing that the casting choices do not fit the lore of LOTR. Even billionaire Elon Musk got in on it, commenting about the male characters on the show and how “Tolkien is turning in his grave.” After this, The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman spoke out against Musk and in support of the show’s casting. That’s just one high-profile example of the debate that's raged on, as there have been people trolling and posting negatively about the cast since the premiere. Amid all of this, Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian actress, who plays the human healer Bronwyn told Mashable that the casting choices are positives on multiple fronts:

It's reflective, not only of the world we live in today, but of Tolkien's image of fellowship, of overcoming differences, of forming bonds with the other... And what better way to have that than to have a cast of people from diverse backgrounds?

Along with Nazanin Boniadi, many other actors in the cast spoke about the importance of representation in the world of J.R.R. Tokien's Lord of the Rings. Tyrone Muhafidin, who plays Bronwyn’s son Theo, asserted that the diverse casting was a “morale boost” for actors of color. He said he felt seen and that the show has the potential to help other actors of color feel seen. Trystan Gravelle, a white actor who plays Númenórean Pharazôn, addressed the luxury of never having his “existence questioned in a show or a film” and said that he thinks the right thing to do is to extend that privilege to everyone.  

Ismael Cruz Córdova, the actor who plays Silvan elf Arondir, revealed that he has received “vicious” backlash since his casting was announced. The Afro-Latino actor said he has received racist and mean comments “nearly every day” since 2020. He also spoke to Mashable alongside his co-stars about how important representation is and the legacy it will leave:

We are here now, and there will no longer ever be a day in which people can say that elves don't look a certain way, or people in Middle-earth don't look a certain way. That chapter is sealed and closed.

Other high-profile celebrities have spoken out in support of Rings of Power. The actors who played the hobbits in the film series showed their support for the show. The actors wore t-shirts and hats that say “all are welcome here” with ears of all shapes and colors. Meanwhile, Whoopi Goldberg got real when she spoke about how in the world of fantasy anyone can exist, therefore the show should be diverse.

The Rings of Power, despite its critics, has been one of the most popular shows on Amazon Prime and much of this diverse cast has received praise. If you want to follow this new fellowship on their quests, use an Amazon Prime subscription to watch new episodes every Friday.  

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.