Ismael Cruz Cordova, star of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, has commented on the racial outcry against the show's inclusive cast.
Cordova, who is of Black and Latino ancestry, will play Silvan Elf Arondir in a TV series based on JRR Tolkien's novel. He was forced to deal with "pure and brutal hate speech" from online trolls after booking the role.
Cordova told Esquire in an interview that she fought so hard for this position.
"I knew that I would be able to carry that torch. I made sure that my elf was the greatest Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming."
Some have skepticism and hostility toward Rings of Power and its diverse cast of characters, with the show the latest victim of review bombing on user review aggregator websites.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the fantasy series has low viewer ratings, in contrast to its high critic rating. As a result, Amazon kept review materials for 72 hours to eradicate trolls (via The Hollywood Reporter).
"You can never use it as an excuse: 'But elves do not look like that," Cordova said.
"They weren't aware of it, but now they do."
However, Cordova's inclusion as the first Black and Latino elf in the LOTR universe isn't the only new feature in Rings of Power.
Nazanin Boniadi, his co-star at San Diego Comic-Con, reflected on the revolutionary power of their love story. As seen in How I Met Your Mother, the Middle Eastern actress plays a human healer named Bronwyn, who is romantically linked to Cordova's Arondir.
"I believe that a forbidden romance has a strong emotional resonance for a lot of couples that may not be accepted," she added.
The cast of the fantasy show includes Saint Maud's Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, Arrow's Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent of Numenor, Nori Brandyfoot's Markella Kavenagh as Game of Thrones' Robert Aramayo as Elrond.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now available on Amazon Prime Video.