September 3, 2022 – Well that didn’t take long. The new AmazonLord of the Rings series is already drawing criticism for being too “woke.” The observations are largely focussed on diverse actors playing roles historically filled by white thespians.
But critics of casting non-White actors in “Rings of Power” say their objections have nothing to do with racism. It’s about being faithful to Tolkien’s vision.
Louis Markos, author of “From A to Z to Middle Earth with J.R.R. Tolkien,” says casting Black and brown actors in “The Rings of Power” threatens story believability. He said Tolkien described elves, for example, as “fair-faced.”
Casting a non-White actor to play an elf makes it more difficult for audiences to maintain their willing suspension of belief, he says.
“This is not something organic that’s coming out of Middle-earth,” Markos says of casting brown and Black actors in the show. “This is really an agenda that is being imposed upon it.”
Other critics use arguments about political correctness to lodge their objections. They describe Amazon’s casting choices as affirmative action descending upon Middle-earth, using terms such as “forced diversity,” and warning that Amazon will “go woke and go broke.”
What do you think? Should new shows like this one try to stick with the original ideas or be more inclusive for a 2022 audience?