The Lord of the Rings: TROP: Córdova on Facing Post-Casting Fan Racism

Despite the fact that J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy franchise in Lord of the Rings is multiracial in a realm that includes humans, orcs, hobbits, dwarves, and elfs, there are so-called purists and racists who believe the new Amazon Prime Video prequel series The Rings of Power don't represent the author's original intentions. Ismael Cruz Córdova is the level-headed Arondir, the first POC to play an elf in the franchise. Since the announcement of his casting, the actor revealed how he's endured two years of harassment from direct messages from trolls online of "pure and vicious hate speech" has beamed into his inbox nearly every day.

Lord of the Rings: TROP: Córdova on Years of Fan Racism Since Casting
Nazanin Boniadi and Ismael Cruz Córdova in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Image courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

"I fought so hard for this role for this very reason," Córdova said"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." The actor, who's also appeared in The Mandalorian and Berlin Station, recalled the retort he uses when confronted by trolls. "You can never use it as an excuse: 'But elves don't look like that.' They didn't, but now they do."

Lord of the Rings: TROP: Córdova on Years of Fan Racism Since Casting
Ismael Cruz Córdova in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Image courtesy of Ben Rothstein / Prime Video

Córdova's comments come in light of Amazon suspending reviews from trolls review bombing the series in part due to its diverse cast. On the other end of the fantasy spectrum is House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint, who's also dealt with his share of racists following his casting as Lord Corlys Velaryon telling Men's Health. "It seems to be very hard for people to swallow," Toussaint said in an interview with Men's Health. "They are happy with a dragon flying. They're happy with white hair and violet-colored eyes, but a rich Black guy? That's beyond the pale." For more on how Córdova got into character, you can check out the whole Esquire interview here. New episodes of The Rings of Power stream Fridays on Prime Video.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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