This fall will provide a hearty feast for all fans of fantasy. If HBO’s new Game of Thrones saga House of Dragon or Star Wars’ latest epic Andor on Disney+ weren’t enough to whet your appetite there’s going to be Prime Video’s upcoming addition to the Lord of the Rings universe to binge on, too. The already record-breaking series is gearing up to launch this September, and in a new tell-all with TIME magazine, the cast and creators dished on their fears, hopes, and excitements for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
While most fans of J. R. R. Tolkien are waiting for the series with welcoming arms, there’s still a bit of worry about racist and sexist pushback. It’s a problem Star Wars has faced in the past—John Boyega was removed from a Chinese poster for The Force Awakens, Kelly Marie Tran was bullied off social media, and most recently, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s villain Moses Ingram struggled with more racist backlash.
“Real life trolls” have already started voicing their gripes about Ismael Cruz-Córdova, a Black Puerto Rican man playing an elf, as well as young Galadriel (Moyfrrd Clark), a woman on the show who, apparently, doesn’t look "feminine” enough because of to the armor she’s wearing. The show’s executive producer, Lindsey Weber, is ready to shut this down ASAP.
“We’re all up for criticism,” she said. “We’re not up for racism.”
The Rings of Power co-creator, John D. Payne, had a more poetic response, citing Tolkien in calling the trolls “creatures of dull and lumpish nature that had no more language than beasts.”
Córdova himself was also sure to shut the racist critics down before the series hits Prime Video. The actor has been a fan of Lord of the Rings since his childhood, and has always had a dream to be in one of Tolkien’s stories.
“I didn’t see myself represented. And when I said, ‘I want to be an elf,’ people said, ‘Elves don’t look like you,’” he said. “When I heard about the character on the show it felt like a mission.”
But Payne and fellow co-creator Patrick McKay got some wisdom from another adventure sage: J. J. Abrams. The duo were able to land the gig thanks to their old Bad Robot boss, who was kind enough to impart some advice as they head into the launch month.
“Trust your instincts,” he said in an email. “But say, ‘I don’t know’ a lot.”
Amazon is truly trusting their instincts on this big, glossy revamp of Lord of the Rings. The show has now officially become the most expensive series ever made, coming in at a whopping $1 billion. (Still, only a small dent in Amazon’s $1 trillion net worth.) That’s a bit of an increase from the $465 million IndieWire was reporting around a year ago.
Hopefully, it’ll all pay off when everyone (minus those pesky trolls) tunes in for The Rings of Power on September 2.