‘Lord of the Rings’ Stars Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan Back Amazon’s Diverse Casting: ‘You Are All Welcome Here’

·3 min read

The cast of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy were famously close, even getting matching tattoos before the end of production. But what is heartening to see now is that they also have solidarity with the new cast members of Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” who have already come under fire for the show’s more diverse approach to casting.

Original Hobbits Elijah Wood (aka Frodo), Billy Boyd (aka Pippin) and Dominic Monaghan (aka Merry) posed for a photo posted on Wood’s Twitter account, which you can see at the top of this post. They’re all wearing matching T-shirts, with different ear shapes of different creatures of Middle-earth, in different skin tones. In Elvish, the shirt says: “You All Are Welcome Here.”

Not long after, the head of Amazon Studios, Jen Salke, weighed in, saying the production company “will not condone racism of any kind” in comments reported by the Los Angeles Times and tweeted by the show’s official account.

If you haven’t been following the controversy, trolls (the internet kind not the fantasy kind) have been coming after Prime Video’s new “Lord of the Rings” series, not for any narrative shortcomings or wonky visual effects (which totally would have been fair game) but because they feel that the diverse cast, including a Black elf, somehow undermines J.R.R. Tolkein’s original vision. They see the casting choices as not made in an effort to reflect the world we, as humans, live in, but one that only cowers to the woke agenda.

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This is, of course, incredibly stupid and racist and also wrong. As Neil Gaiman, the celebrated fantasy writer and creator of “The Sandman” (which has also just been turned into a big-budget streaming adventure), pointed out, Tolkein described some of the characters, including the Harfoots, as “browner of skin” than the other Hobbits. “I think anyone grumbling is either racist or hasn’t read their Tolkien. Your mileage may vary,” Gaiman concluded. (He is very good on Twitter.)

A similar attack, only this time more misogynist than racist, is being leveled against Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” with fanboys mad that the company is focusing so much on female superheroes. Because nobody can hate something quite as well as “fans.”

You can get your own version of the T-shirt Elijah and the other Hobbits wore here. Fifty percent of proceeds will go to charitable causes, so you can feel even better about ordering.

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