Ever since The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuted on Amazon Prime Video, the cast and creators have faced a barrage of racist backlash. A vocal minority of so-called fans have denounced the show for its diverse casting, and in the last week several sci-fi and fantasy legends like Neil Gaiman and Whoopi Goldberg have spoken out to defend the series.
Now several of the Shire's most notable residents are making their voices heard, too. Original Lord of the Rings cast members Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan shared photos on social media to stand up for diversity in Middle-earth, showing their support for the Rings of Power cast Wednesday.
Wood, Boyd, and Monaghan gathered in person, wearing shirts made by LOTR superfan Don Marshall. Their T-shirts feature human, hobbit, and elf ears in a variety of skin tones, as well as the phrase "You are all welcome here" in Elvish. Astin opted for a baseball hat with the same message.
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) September 7, 2022
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) September 7, 2022
The four actors starred in Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy, of course, playing the fellowship's four hobbits. The Rings of Power is set during J.R.R. Tolkien's Second Age, thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, so Wood, Astin, Boyd, and Monaghan are not involved in the series. (In fact, there aren't any hobbits in The Rings of Power at all; instead, the show features early halfling predecessors called Harfoots, played by actors including Markella Kavenagh, Lenny Henry, and Megan Richards.)
The Rings of Power cast later released a joint statement on social media, using the same #YouAreAllWelcomeHere hashtag and similarly denouncing the racism that several cast members have faced.
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) September 7, 2022
After all, who better to help defend Middle-earth from evil than Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin Took, and Meriadoc Brandybuck? They already know how to defeat a cave troll, so internet trolls should be no problem.
Pierre Vinet/New Line Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan in 'The Lord of the Rings'