The Rings Of Power’s Ismael Cruz Córdova On Crafting An Elf That Looks Like Him While Following In The Footsteps Of Orlando Bloom And More

Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video )

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power heavily expanded the lore created by J.R.R. Tolkin years ago. While it mostly stays true to what longtime fans know, it also expands Middle-earth in some fresh ways and introduces some exciting new characters in the process. Among those new faces is the Silvan elf warrior Arondir, who’s played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. With his casting, Córdova made history as the first Latino actor to portray an elf in the long-running franchise. He’s quite proud to be a part of the beloved saga and recently opened up about crafting a character that looks like him while following in the footsteps of series alums like Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett. 

A longtime fan of the epic fantasy property, Ismael Cruz Córdova came into Amazon’s ambitious production possessing a lot of respect for what had come before. Of course, the actor was in a very interesting position because, as mentioned, there’d never been an elf like his before. He was aware of the typical characteristics that are associated with his character’s breed. Nevertheless, he was conscious of the fact that he was going to have to bring something unique to the proceedings: 

There’s interpretation, there’s folklore, then there’s all the stories that have been made, and there’s the visual representation of what we’ve seen in the cinematic universe. And [that’s] definitely influential, but I had to contend with what that meant, in terms of visuals but also representation. I’ve never seen an elf look like me. There had never been one until I came to the show. So I had the opportunity of bringing my own experience to that … my own version of elveness.

I’d say that the 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor was successful, as Arondir certainly has a demeanor that parallels many of the famous characters that came before him. However, he also has a distinct vibe that’s very unique to him. While speaking with Gold Derby, the Miss Bala star went on to discuss the work of other elf actors, including Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. They all played notable elves Legolas, Elrond and Galadriel, respectively. The ROP star specifically discussed how his approach compares to theirs while also sending a little bit of love their way: 

Hugo, Orlando, Cate Blanchett, those [performances] were their contributions coming from where they stood in the world. So I wanted to create an elf from where I stand in the world and what I was always missing that I also know is elven and infuse that with a different kind of elf. And [Arondir] is a different kind of elf that we haven’t seen before. … Of course, I tip my hat to our forefather elves or mothers. But I took the chance of doing something new as well.

Ismael Cruz Córdova has done a great job in the role thus far, and a number of fans seem to have taken to the character. Unfortunately, there are some who haven’t been as high on the new elf or Córdova’s casting. The actor sadly faced “vicious” backlash after he joined The Rings of Power, though he mostly seems to have handled it well. And on a more positive note, he’s since received support from Orlando Bloom as well as numerous fans. The negativity has been disheartening to see, but it’s definitely wonderful that Bloom, Elijah Wood and more alums have been defending Córdova and the show’s other actors of color. 

Season 2 of the LOTR series is currently set for release in 2024, and Ismael Cruz Córdova will once again be a part of the cast. One can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s still a lot to be explored with Arondir, and I’d wager that Córdova is eager to continue the journey. Here’s hoping he’s able to further flesh out the character in interesting ways and simultaneously serve as inspiration for those who’ve been waiting for such an elf.

Anyone with a Prime Video subscription can check out the first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power now. Those you’re looking for more small-screen fare can also read over the 2023 TV schedule.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.