Since the casting announcements of Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, there has been backlash largely attributed to determined trolls who feel they can better speak on J. R. R. Tolkien’s legacy. Ismael Cruz Córdova is the first POC actor to play an elf as the level-headed Arondir. He revealed that he’s received harassing direct messages online from said trolls since his casting two years ago. Original Lord of the Rings Hobbit stars from the Peter Jackson films, Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Dominic Monaghan (Merry Brandybuck), and Billy Boyd (Pippin Took), shared a unifying message in a show of solidarity.
Working with Don Marshall, Monaghan, Wood, and Boyd all donned white shirts with the words “You Are All Welcome Here” in Elven, and below are ears of the various races in different pigments. Córdova thanked them, tweeting, “We belong. Much love ✊🏾💖Thank you [Sean Astin], [Elijah Wood], [Billy Boyd], [Dominic Monaghan], [Don Marshall].” Marshall offers the shirts in multiple colors: light steel, pink, pale pink, deep royal, denim blue, deep red, deep forest, smoke gray, purple, and white.
“I fought so hard for this role for this very reason,” Córdova told Esquire. “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: The Rings of Power streams Thursdays on Prime Video. You can get the shirt here.