Original The Lord of the Rings stars Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd are showing their support for the inclusive nature of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in the face of racist trolls who have been attacking the series and its stars. The actors took to Twitter to show off merch featuring ears representing various races of Middle-earth and with different skin tones, along with the message in Elvish "You Are All Welcome Here." The apparel comes from Don Marshall, with 50% of the proceeds going to a charity that supports POC of Marshall's choosing.
Ismael Cruz Córdova plays the Elven warrior Arondir in The Rings of Power, being the first person of color to play such a character in the franchise. The actor recently noted that, for the past two years, his social media profiles have been bombarded daily with "pure and vicious hate speech" for his casting in the series.
"I fought so hard for this role for this very reason," Córdova shared with Esquire. "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."
As has become the norm for highly anticipated TV series, ranging from The Boys to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, trolls unite to show their animosity towards a program in its user review sections, on Rotten Tomatoes, or on IMDb. While many of the negative reviews can be taken on good faith and aren't motivated by sexism or racism, Amazon has been able to identify disproportionately negative comments and ratings around specific programs, resulting in the service suspending any user reviews for The Rings of Power.
Even compared to its peers, however, the odds are stacked against The Rings of Power, as not only does its diverse and inclusive ensemble make it a target for toxic fans, but it also marks the first live-action TV series for the beloved franchise. So while She-Hulk might still have to suffer the brunt of sexist fans, the fact that a Lord of the Rings TV show exists in the first place draws even more pressure and attention.
Regardless of what trolls might be saying about the series, The Rings of Power currently holds 85% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, as compared to 39% positive user reviews. Given that the user reviews feature comments such as "how did she killed [sic] a monster like that easily without effort, the whole thing it's [sic] not make [sic] any sense. Plus they wanted to show you the girl power in sakes [sic] of the story" and "I agree with Elon Musk," most viewers likely won't take these reactions to heart.
New episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiere on Fridays on Prime Video.