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Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power stars stress diverse cast of actors is ‘not tokenization’

Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power stars have addressed the backlash and trolling from JRR Tolkien fans who have been critical over the new series’ casting choices.

The prequel series takes place thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and the original series of the Lord of the Rings stories, during the Second Age of Middle-earth, before the Fellowship and even before the rings of power were ever created.

The series boasts an all-star cast, including Sir Lenny Henry, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo and Maxim Baldry.

Much alike the racist abuse that has been plaguing Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon stars, some fans have become upset over diverse casting in the upcoming series.

While typically the Middle-earth characters were assumed to be white, with the Lord of the Rings movies predominantly featuring a white cast, Rings of Power presents a more diverse version of the Tolkien-era.

The first female dwarves are to be depicted on screen, while actors of color are playing a variety of characters, like elves and harfoots.

Ismael Cruz Cordova plays silvan elf Arondir, and is the first person of colour to play an elf in a Tolkien screen adaptation.

Meanwhile, British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi plays healer Bronwyn, and Sophia Nomvete is the first Black woman to be playing a Lord of the Rings dwarf.

Cynthia Addai-Robinson plays Queen Regent Míriel (Picture: Twitter/LOTRonPrime)
Sir Lenny Henry plays Harfoot elder Sadoc Burrows (Picture: Twitter/LOTRonPrime)

Cordova has addressed the backlash the cast have faced, as the Puerto Rican actor spoke about his role fulfilling his life-long dream.

The 35-year-old admitted he ‘wanted to be an elf since I was a kid,’ and recalled playing as one as a child, with an imaginary bow.

‘That was something I really dreamt about, but on the flip side, it was something that was a little painful because there weren’t elves that looked like me,’ he told Entertainment Weekly.

He added: ‘It became a personal but distant dream, up until the moment where this opportunity opened up. So I ferociously went for it.’

Cordova said it was his ‘life-long dream’ (Picture: Twitter/LOTRonPrime)
Rings of Power presents a more diverse version of the Tolkien-era (Picture: AMAZON STUDIOS)
The prequel series takes place thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit (Picture: Prime Video)

Boniadi added: ‘This was not stunt casting.’

She told the publication: ‘This isn’t tokenization, or a lot of the things that we’re used to in past roles.

‘Every person has been cast because they are the best people for those roles, regardless of ethnicity and race.

‘And I find that super empowering.’

Boniadi stressed the casting was ‘not tokenization’ (Picture: Twitter/LOTRonPrime)
The new series launches in September (Picture: Twitter/LOTRonPrime)

Executive producer Lindsey Weber previously spoke to Vanity Fair about the same backlash, saying: ‘It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like.

‘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.’

Tolkien scholar Mariana Rios Maldonado added to the publication: ‘Obviously there was going to be push and backlash, but the question is, from whom? Who are these people that feel so threatened or disgusted by the idea that an elf is Black or Latino or Asian?’

The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power is coming to Amazon Prime Video on September 2.

Credit: Source

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