Streaming giant Amazon has defended the racially diverse casting of its big-budget series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which some fans say distorts the world of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Since the first two episodes of the series aired, social media has been awash with protests that the decision to cast Black and Latino actors in some roles was forcing diversity onto the original source material.
Among such characters is Lord of the Rings fan favourite dwarf princess Disa, played by Black actress Sophia Nomvete.
But other fans saw the diversity as a welcome development in the fantasy universe.
Amazon also defended the Lord of the Rings casting choice in a post on the show’s official Twitter account.
“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,” the actors said in a joint statement, also released on the show’s Twitter.
“Ours has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white. Middle-earth is not all white,” the statement said, referring to the medieval-inspired universe in which Tolkien’s entire Lord of the Rings story takes place, populated by humans, hobbits, dwarves and elves among others.
This is not the first time a popular fantasy series has had to defend its diverse casting choices.
In June, Star Wars lead Ewan McGregor struck out at people targeting fellow “Obi-Wan Kenobi” actor Moses Ingram, who is Black, with racist abuse online.