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Original LOTR Hobbit Actors Unite Against Rings of Power Racist Backlash

Elijah Wood and his Lord of the Rings castmates Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, and Sean Astin, share posts supporting The Rings of Power’s diversity.

Elijah Wood and his hobbit co-stars have banded together to respond to the backlash to the diverse casting in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The live-action branch of the Lord of the Rings universe began with Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy of films early in the new millennium: 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring, 2002’s The Two Towers, and 2003’s The Return of the King. The series followed a group of adventurers who band together to help the hobbit Frodo (Wood) deliver the all-powerful One Ring to Mordor to be destroyed in the flames of Mount Doom. In addition to Frodo, the Fellowship includes Frodo’s closest companion Samwise (Sean Astin), and the dynamic duo of Merry and Pippin (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd).

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The latest entry in the franchise is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a prequel series that takes place in Middle-earth’s Second Age, thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and its own prequel trilogy, The Hobbit. The first two episodes of the series premiered on Prime Video on September 1, introducing fans to a vast new ensemble of characters, accompanied by immortal legacy characters Galadriel and Elrond, now played by Morfydd Clark and Robert Aramayo respectively. The vast cast includes performers from many different races, a stark contrast to previous depictions of Middle-earth, which present the characters as largely white. This has led to racist backlash from many people around the Internet who say that the only way to properly adapt the works of Tolkien is to make the characters white, a claim that has been rebutted by many prominent figures of the sci-fi and fantasy genre, including Whoopi Goldberg and The Sandman author Neil Gaiman.


Related: If Valinor Is West Of Middle-earth, What’s To The East?

The original Lord of the Rings hobbit actors have reteamed to promote the diverse casting of The Rings of Power. On Twitter, Wood shared a photo of himself, Monaghan, and Boyd wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a design showing a row of ears from different Middle-earth races featuring different skin tones underneath the phrase “You Are All Welcome Here” in Elvish. The design, which was created by Don Marshall and is for sale on his personal web site (with 50% of the proceeds going to a charity supporting people of color, currently TBD), was also showed off by Astin in an image featuring the actor donning a hat with the same message. Check out Wood and Astin’s posts below:


While none of the four hobbit actors are involved in The Rings of Power, it’s certainly gratifying for fans to see that they are still so closely involved with the franchise. Their participation also loosens the argument of some people who are participating in race-based backlash. While the original Lord of the Rings trilogy does feature predominately white actors, instead of passively allowing the conversation to continue unabated, they are using their support to bridge the gap between those original films and the more diverse Middle-earth being presented now.

Even with this controversy raging, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been a huge success for the streaming service. The series premiered with 25 million viewers, the most for any Prime Video premiere in history. The approval of the original legacy cast of hobbits will likely only help the audience grow, helping the fantasy show break even more viewership records down the line.


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