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lord of the rings

Original ‘LOTR’ Cast Stands in Solidarity With ‘Rings of Power’ Cast Amid Racist Backlash

The original cast of “The Lord of the Rings” movies are standing in solidarity with the diverse cast of Amazon’s new series “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” The cast of “The Rings of Power” have been on the receiving end of a slurry of hateful messages from racist “fans” of the LOTR franchise. These fans are unhappy with the casting decision and feel that it does not represent what they perceive to be LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of its fantasy world, “Middle-earth.”

Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, and Dominic Monaghan publicly supported the new cast members on social media. They posted photos wearing hats and t-shirts featuring a row of human, goblin, and elf ears in various shades of skin tone. The four actors played the four hobbits in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of the LOTR trilogy.

The actors captioned their posts with “you are all welcome here,” which quickly became a hashtag and reaffirmed their support. The merchandise designed by Don Marshall also features the phrase printed in “elvish.” 50% of the merchandise sales profits go to a nonprofit supporting POC.

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On a statement on Instagram, The Lord of the Rings on Prime account wrote a response to the controversy.

“We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it. JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. “Rings of Power” reflects that. Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white. Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in middle-earth and they are here to stay.”

This is not the first time a cast’s diversity or lack of diversity stirred controversy. A few weeks before “The Rings of Power” started streaming, a prequel to the TV fantasy series “Game of Thrones” called “House of Dragons” was released. Fans noticed that the prequel attempts to create a more diverse world than in “Game of Thrones.” A few years ago, Idris Alba received backlash when rumors of him playing James Bond circulated in the media.

Neil Gaiman, a fantasy and science-fiction author and screenwriter, has also come out in support, dismantling some of the arguments circulated by racist fans. On Twitter, one user posted, “browner of skin means tanned white similar to people who work in the sun,” to which Gaiman responded, “Tolkien didn’t say ‘The Harfoots spent longer in the sun than any of the other hobbits and were a lot more tanned.” He said that Tolkien described them as “browner of skin.”

The TV adaptation of “The Sandman,” released on Netflix recently, features a similarly diverse cast. In the show, one of the characters, “Death,” is white in the comics and is played by a Black actor named Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Female actors played other characters who were originally male in the comics. Gaiman wrote the original comic and was one of the developers of the show.

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Actor Whoopi Goldberg also came out in support and talked about the absurdity of a diversity rule placed on a fantasy world. Goldberg said, “they don’t exist in the real world.”

“There are no dragons. There are no hobbits. Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people too? Is that what you’re telling me? I don’t know if there’s like a hobbit club, I don’t know if there are gonna be protests, but people! What is wrong with y’all?”

“The Rings of Power” takes place in Tolkien’s Middle-earth second age, before the timeline of the first book. It is streaming on Amazon Prime.

Girl Watching Movie on Couch

Movie Series You Should Watch In Quarantine

Enduring the coronavirus pandemic and remaining indoors for an indefinite amount of time is truly like something we’ve never experienced before. Finding ways to pass the time has been the largest struggle for many of us, so it’s no surprise that binge-watching our favorite television shows and movies on the multitude of streaming platforms that exist now has been one of the most popular options. 

While it’s important to get up and move your body everyday, even being stuck inside, there’s nothing wrong with just vegging out on the couch and finally watching that movie series you’ve been putting off for years. I mean, generally speaking, there has quite literally never been a better time to watch every movie in a series. And with everything going on in the world, we all could use the distractions, so where should you start? 

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The Lord Of the Rings Trilogy: This binge-session is not for the faint of heart, and being a Sci-Fi/Hobbit fan, is a little bit of a requirement. If you’re looking for a really long marathon that can last over multiple days in quarantine you found your series. Each movie well exceeds three hours, but takes its time developing each character’s story arc, again, if this is your type of industry, this trilogy is for you. 

Mission Impossible: The super spy franchise consistently starring Tom Cruise gives the same type of extreme action movie energy as other films like the James Bond or Jason Bourne movies. The films give off that romanticized secret spy story line with many explosions, intense physical altercations, and of course, high-tech gadgets. 

Friday The 13th: If you’re a horror film fanatic and you haven’t seen all the original Friday the 13th movies then you may need to be stripped of your title. Not only are there well over 8 movies in this series (some by varying directors), but you can literally watch the progression of how horror  movies are created by starting with the original film from 1980, and finishing with the most recent installment starring Jared Padalecki, which was released in 2009. 

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The Dark Knight Trilogy: Christian Bale was arguably one of the best Batman’s and the Dark Knight trilogy is one of the best Batman installments to hit the superheroes film archive. If you’ve already seen these three movies, you already know that you’ll have no problem re-watching them because of how amazingly written and filmed the series was. If you want to scratch your DC itch but have already watched this trilogy recently, try deep diving into all the other Batman movie installments, starting with the original Batman film from 1989, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. 

The LEGO Movies: If you’re quarantined with your kids, teenagers, or even young-adult children, the LEGO movies really are enjoyable for all age groups. The colorful animation, classic jokes, and heartfelt storytelling gives it’s audiences some much needed light-hearted, wholesome entertainment. The best part is there’s four movies to choose from! And while you don’t necessarily have to watch them all in order, you definitely should. 

Back To The Future: Finally, we’re ending with one of the most classic trilogies to be birthed from the 1980’s (even though the last film was released in 1990). This trilogy follows iconic duo Marty McFly and Doc, his mad scientist best friend who finally was able to invent a time machine. Each movie has the same basis of going to the past, the future, and then back to one or the other, or both, however, each film has its own specific plots to make each one unique, the third installment takes on a more Western genre if you can believe it.